Our close bond with household animals goes back about as far as civilization itself. From the early domesticated dogs of the last ice age, to the godly status of ancient Egypt’s cats, it seems pets have always played a significant role in the lives of their two-legged companions.
While today’s pets might not carry quite the same god-like status, some would say our relationships with them are stronger than ever before. In fact, a recent survey found that 12% of respondents actually loved their pet more than their partner!
As with all aspects of life, from dating to housing, the day-to-day costs of raising animals often surpasses our expectations. But even with half of British households harbouring a furry friend, it might come as a shock that UK pet-owners splash out on billions worth of pet expenses every year! So, with that in mind, take a look at our top insights, from the pros to the cons.
1. The first year is often the costliest
If you’re budgeting for a new puppy or kitten this year, a recent survey found that the twelve months will put you back £4,791 and £2,455 respectively. That may seem hefty, but these expenses can help set your new friend up for a bright and happy future (and maybe even save you on preventable and costly visits to the vet). Plus, it’s worth noting that even a new fish will put you back £769 in its first year (aquariums don’t come cheap!).
2. A dog is good for your heart - and your fitness budget
A recent study published by BMC Public Health found that, on average, people with a dog get an additional 22 minutes of exercise every day. Measured at a ‘moderate pace,’ those dog walks quickly add up to the nationally recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week! If your gym membership has been collecting dust, a new pup might just be the perfect excuse to finally give it the axe (and save you a few £100 while you’re at it!).
3. Brits love treating their pets, especially on the holidays
Some of the year’s most fun – and expensive— holidays are fast approaching, and the season of giving isn’t limited to our human friends! In fact, these much-anticipated times of year can send a jolt through our pet budgets. In 2014, Brits spent an estimated £47 million on Christmas presents for their pets, and more recent research by American Express put pet spend at about £27 million for Valentine’s Day – about £5 per pet in 2017.
4. There are great resources out there for pet budgeting and saving
Research from Co-operative found that over a third of pet owners will dip into their savings to cover ongoing –or unexpected— pet costs. Fortunately, there are some great tools and resources out there to help budget for the unexpected, from top tips to smart money apps (like Yolt!).
5. People with pets are happier!
If there’s one thing that’s truly invaluable, it’s your happiness! A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that pets really do make us happier and healthier. Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, the study found that pet owners exhibited “greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, were less lonely, were more conscientious, and were more socially outgoing” than non-owners. So, even if that first year of pet ownership puts you back a few thousand pounds, you’re looking at years of health and happiness ahead – and you can’t put a price tag on that.