Animal Owners Forced To Face The Real Cost of Owning a Pet

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There are 22 million pets in the UK, but with the average household having debts of up to £8,000, pet owners are forced to consider whether they can afford the financial commitment. The Baines and Ernst Infographic now provides a valuable resource for prospective pet owners.

The Real Cost Of Owning A Pet

The Pets Bureau said that debt was a contributing factor in the total number of pets abandoned since the credit crunch began and reported that 7,121 healthy animals were put to sleep in 2011.

There are 22 million pets in the UK, with dogs and cats accounting for 16 million – showing that the UK is most certainly a nation of animal lovers.

There’s no doubt that pets are an important part of family life – they offer companionship, love and loyalty to people of all ages. So it comes as no surprise to learn from the British Medical Journal that 90% of animal owners see pets as a valuable member of the family.

However, as the country remains in recession and households continue to struggle to make ends meet, the question must be asked: can you afford to buy a pet?

Many people buy pets without fully understanding how much it will cost, from buying the initial essentials to monthly costs to keep the pet happy and healthy, it all adds up. And when the owner calculates how long the pet will be in their life, the cost of owning a pet can literally run into the thousands as this Infographic ‘The Real Cost of Owning a Pet’ from Baines and Ernst shows.

The Pets Bureau said that debt was a contributing factor in the total number of pets abandoned since the credit crunch began. They reported that 7,121 healthy animals were put to sleep in 2011, while the Dogs Trust reported that they cared for 16,000 abandoned dogs in the same year.

The real cost of owning a pet is depicted very well in the infograph published by Baines and Ernst as it shows how much you can expect to pay initially, monthly and over the lifetime of the pet. The costs are based on UK average, minimum values – so even when spending the least amount possible, the total overall spend will still remain quite high.

For example, Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the UK, and puppy prices start from around £400. By the time an owner has bought leads, collars, bedding, cages, feeding bowls, food, toys, Microchipping and initial vaccinations, they could easily spend £500+.

Then there are the monthly costs such as food and insurance – a dog may need a specialist diet which means popping to the shop of a cheap tin of dog food is out of the question. And the older the dog gets, the more expensive insurance will become. There could be other restrictions on the insurance such as the breed may be prone to certain illnesses which are not covered, which means if they need any treatment, that will come out of the owners pocket.

Of course there are other costs to consider, such as flea treatment, worming and annual vaccinations. So when you look at the overall cost of owning a dog with life expectancy up to 11 years, the total spend could quite easily reach: £7,337.

Cats don’t come cheap either – with a life expectancy of up to 18 years, you could expect to spend as much as £5,088.

Having to give up a pet because a household can no longer afford to keep it is truly heartbreaking, so it makes good financial sense to work out if you can afford to look after a pet before you buy one.

Hopefully the Baines and Ernst Infograph will be a valuable resource for anyone thinking about buying a cat or a dog.

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Imran Khan
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