The hidden cost of pets

They might be super-cute and light up the dullest of days, but adopting a furry friend comes at a price. Be smart: do the maths and make sure you’re prepared.

Insurance

Feeling poorly? A simple (and free) trip to the doctors will probably sort you out. But if the same thing happens to your pet, you could be landed with a hefty bill. Insurance may provide peace of mind, but can be costly: basic dog insurance can start at as little as £3 a month, but averages at £30; so get a quote before committing.

Maintenance

Think an MOT’s just for the car? Think again. Your pet may need yearly jabs, as well as regular flea and worm treatments. Annual vaccines for cats can cost around £40, so make sure you’re ready for the hit.

Accessorising

You may not need a designer bag to carry your miniature pooch, but even the humblest hound needs a lead. Whilst inexpensive on their own, the cost of collars and leads, toys, treats, cages and bedding for your pet can really mount up.

Getting the snip

Most vets advise spaying or neutering your pet for health reasons, even if they’re unlikely to breed. And the cost could make your eyes water: around £150 for a medium sized dog. Pet charities may help, but you need to check whether you qualify.

Unexpected costs

Anyone who’s owned a house pet will have tales of scratches and stains; damaged furniture can be part of the deal. Worse, if pets spoil the property of others, you may be expected to foot the bill.

Need a break?

Planning a getaway? Don’t forget your pet. If you decide to give Spot a sunshine break, you’ll probably need to pay for a passport (£150-250). Even if your pet stays home, with kennel prices for a cat around £6 per day and even friendly neighbours expecting a thank-you gift for fish-feeding, you might need to cut back on the cocktails beachside.