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A lot of people think that their home would be incomplete without a pet but many have found that their four-legged friends are costing them more than they budgeted for. It is common for people to think that the main cost is going to be food and that if there is enough in the budget for this they will be able to take care of their pet. However when toys, litter, a bed, vaccinations and grooming are taken into consideration the costs add up!
There are around 16 million pet dogs and cats in the UK and almost half of UK households own a pet which puts a lot of people into the position where they need to factor pet related costs into their budgets. Many items could be seen as ‘start-up costs’ such as a bed, food and water bowls and toys. However, these items will need replacing eventually so should not been regarded as one-off purchases.
The average cost of owning a cat or dog is £17,000 over the pet’s lifetime which shows how big the financial commitment involved in having a pet is. However, there are ways in which you can keep the costs of owning a pet down, and even ways that they can help to save you money!
Only 25% of pet owners have pet insurance and most say that this is because they cannot afford to pay for it. In the grand scheme of things you will save a lot more through paying for pet insurance than you will by having to pay for any illnesses or accidents that your pet may get. Many vets have stated that they have had to treat a pet using a less favourable option due to their owner not having the correct pet insurance. If you are going to take responsibility for a pet it is only fair that you ensure they can have the best treatment should they get ill or injured.
Prevention is cheaper than a cure so take a few easy steps in keeping your pet healthy and they should cost you less in the long run and lead happy and healthy lives. Keep up to date with your pet’s checkups and vaccinations to that any illness can be found and treated early on or prevented completely. Ensure that they are always looking their best through grooming them and cleaning their teeth. A clean pet is a healthy pet! You don’t necessarily have to pay someone to groom your pet; you can do this yourself to save money.
Regular exercise and a good diet are key in keeping your pet healthy. You don’t have to buy the most expensive food but make sure that the food that you do choose contains all of the nutrients that your pet needs. Taking your dog for a walk is free and doubles up as being free entertainment for you too! Your dog won’t be the only one getting healthier and there is no cost. Keeping your pet entertained can help to avoid behavioural problems and therefore less money spent on training! Also, spay or neuter you pet to ensure that you don’t end up with more than you bargained for...
If you are considering getting a pet it is a great option to adopt one from a rescue centre. Not only are you giving an animal a second chance but they are often vaccinated, chipped, spayed/neutered and wormed already which will save you some money on those first trips to the vet.
Having a pet is fantastic and as long as they are budgeted for correctly they will bring a lot of fun and happiness to any loving home.
By Sasha Davison
If the cost of vet bills is adding to an ongoing debt problem you can contact Valour Financial Management for debt management advice and services.
20th February 2014
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