10 Costs to consider when getting a new pet
When you’re planning to get a pet, it’s very easy to forget or miss out something… then when you get an unexpected bill later, it comes as a nasty surprise.
So, to help you out, we’ve prepared a checklist of 10 essentials you really have to budget for...
Your new pet has to eat! It is possible to formulate a suitable diet yourself, but it’s a lot cheaper and easier to buy a good brand of commercial pet food, which will be fully balanced and healthy for them. Buying really cheap food, though, is a false economy - some budget dog food, for example, is only 10% digestible!
This includes collars, leads, harnesses, beds, food and water bowls, carry boxes, cages etc. Before you get a pet, decide what sort of lifestyle is appropriate for them (for example, a dog needs a collar and lead for walks, and a cat needs litter trays and a carry box). Remember too, if you’ve bought a puppy, kitten or other young animal, they may grow (!), in which case you’ll need periodically to buy bigger stuff until they reach adulthood.
You’ll also need to be prepared to groom them - brushes and combs etc, depending on the type of pet, size and coat. Ungroomed, cats, dogs and even rabbits develop thick mats of fur that are painful and may lead to skin problems.
We offer our clients the opportunity to make substantial annual savings on their pet's preventable healthcare through ProActive Pets. This includes the cost of vaccinations, flea and worming treatments, microchipping and neutering to name a few, with the added benefit of spreading the costs with manageable monthly payments. For more information or to find your local participating branch click here.
Not vaccinating your pet against preventable diseases is not only financially foolish (it’s much more expensive to treat than prevent most illnesses), it’s cruel as well. Budget for appropriate vaccination schedules - for dogs, distemper, hepatitis, parvo and leptospirosis, with optional kennel cough and rabies; for cats, cat flu and panleukopenia, and we’d strongly advise feline leukaemia as well; and for rabbits, myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease.
Members of ProActive Pets can save money on the cost of vaccinations and spread the cost over the year.
As of this year, it is illegal not to microchip your dog. Although it isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a really good idea to get your cat or rabbit chipped too - if they wander away or (sadly) are stolen, it makes it much easier to be reunited with them!
If you’re planning to breed, obviously, you don’t want to neuter your pet; and if they’ve come from a rescue centre, you won’t usually need to. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that neutering saves you money - think of all those hungry puppies/kittens/kits you’d otherwise need to look after! It also prevents serious diseases, like pyometra in bitches and womb cancer in rabbits.
6. Routine healthcare
Dogs and cats usually need regular flea and worm treatment - generally monthly for fleas and worming every 3 months, but it may be more often if they hunt. Rabbits often need treating against flystrike; for all animals, the cost builds up after a while.
ProActive Pets members receive substantial savings on their pet's flea and worming treatments along with many other benefits to help keep your pet healthy.
7. Vets costs - illness or injury
Animals periodically injure themselves, or contract illnesses or diseases - although you can minimise the risk, you can’t prevent it entirely. And when they do, they’ll need veterinary attention. For most people, the best way to budget for this is to take out pet insurance. However, make sure you read the small print, and don’t just go for the cheapest quote - different policies give different levels of cover.
The best policies are lifelong, and the “pot” of money is renewed each year. The cheapest ones, however, often have a fixed limit, and once that’s been spent, it’s done. Also, most insurance companies won’t pay out for any condition that occurs before the policy is taken out, or in the first few weeks - so plan ahead and make sure you’re covered before your pet needs to see us!
8. Public liability insurance
Some pets, particularly dogs, can (usually entirely by accident) injure passers by, who can then sue you for damages. Always consider public liability insurance to protect yourself - it‘s bundled in with many pet insurance policies.
When you’ve got your pet, you might want to do things with them... Perhaps you want to show them, or compete in agility or other sports? If so, think about memberships and entry fees. You probably want to make sure your dog is obedient too - so consider obedience or training classes.
On the other hand, there may well be times when you don’t want them with you - pets don’t cope well with long-haul flights, for example! So bear in mind you’ll need to pay for either boarding kennels or a pet sitter to look after them when you’re away.