It’s an exciting time! You are opening your home to a new family member. You may have already fallen in love with a bundle of fluff – but have you considered what owning a dog costs?
Did you know that the lifetime cost of owning a dog can be as much as £33,000?
The cost of owning a dog can vary based on size and breed. We all know that being a responsible dog owner means offering your dog more than just love and your time. When you take into account food, insurance, toys and healthcare treatments. It’s easy to see how some people can get in over their heads with dog costs.
Let’s start with the upfront dog costs:
If you’re buying a puppy, the cost depends on where your puppy comes from. Puppy prices can vary drastically; mixed dogs tend to be cheaper than pedigreed dogs and rare breed are regarded very highly, therefore cost the most.
Then you’ve got vaccinating your dog or puppy. Check with your local veterinary practice on their prices but this can vary from £30-£60 for initial injections and around £40 for annual boosters.
Microchipping is now a legal requirement for dogs and choosing not to do it can result in a £500 fine. The general cost of microchipping is around £20.
All of these costs can be reduces by recusing or rehoming a dog.
When rehoming or rescuing a dog the other than the initial fee the dog usually comes vaccinated and microchipped, neutered (if old enough) and sometimes even with insurance for a small period of time. So you can save on the initial dog costs.
If you’re not sure on becoming a full time pet parent, you might even find that you’re happy with becoming a pet foster parent. Some of your costs might be covered by the shelter but day to day costs such as feeding your foster dog will fall on you. Fostering can give you a good idea on what it’s like to have a dog.
General living costs
Then there are the costs of numerous other items like, bedding, toys, food etc. These can range in cost depending on quality, so shop around and compare prices before deciding.
Food is one of the largest costs of owning a dog. There are so many options for pet owners to choose from that if can become overwhelming. Raw, dry kibble, tinned or sachets; whatever you decide you should know there spending money on premium dog food doesn’t necessarily guarantee the highest nutritional value.
Unexpected veterinary costs can catch everyone off guard, so insurance is very important should your dog get hurt or ill. It can cover things like and expensive operation or treatment for a chronic condition.
There are organisations that support pet owners that are on a low income, benefits or have retired:
The Blue Cross primarily service areas across London and Grimsby, offer free veterinary treatment for pets.
PDSA – The PDSA treat animals that belong to owners who recieve financial help from certain state benefits like Housing Benefit or Council Tax support.
Treatment is usually free of charge, but the PDSA ask anyone who benefits from free treatment to make a voluntarily donation towards the cost, as the charity does not receive any government funding.
Dogs Trust – The Dogs Trust offer financial help towards the cost of neutering to dog owners that live in certain areas of the UK, have a low income and receive certain means-tested benefits.
RSPCA – The RSPCA focus their funds towards basic and preventative veterinary care, these include neutering, microchipping and vaccinations.
You cannot get any help with vets bills from RSPCA headquarters, but some RSCPA branches (which are run independently) do offer financial assistance. to those on a low income or retired pet owners.