It’s fair to say that, as a nation, we love our pets. According to PFMA figures, 48% of British households have at least one pet, and the UK is home to a whopping 8 million dogs, 8 million cats, 1 million guinea pigs and over half a million hamsters. That’s quite a lot of mouths to feed and paws to clean! However, as any pet owner will tell you, nothing beats the loyal tail wag of man’s best friend or the soft snuggles of a content cat.
Still, the cost of owning a pet – particularly a dog or a cat – is often more than you initially expect. To help you keep costs down, consider this brief guide to budgeting for your furry friend:
Feed ‘Em the Good Stuff
Buying cheap pet food can be a false economy. If the bargain-basement variety doesn’t have the proper nutritional value, you pet may need to eat more of it just to feel satisfied. This ends up costing you more and your pet still doesn’t get the healthy diet it needs.
Instead choose a food source that fulfills your pet’s nutritional needs iams dog food is designed to promote the seven signs of healthy vitality: healthy digestion, strong muscles, healthy teeth, healthy heart, strong immune system, healthy skin/shiny coat and strong bones.
Read the Small Print
Pet insurance is one of the largest annual outgoings for dog and cat owners. Picking a policy that protects your pet, but doesn’t contain needless extras, comes down to reading the fine print.
Check that your pet’s age, breed and pre-existing conditions are covered – It would be such a shame to pay for a policy that doesn’t actually cover your pet at all. Many pet insurance policies won’t cover pets over a certain age or if their breed is deemed a more ‘dangerous’ variety. If your pet has any pre-existing conditions, such as cancer or arthritis, you may have to opt for a higher level cover.
Keep up-to-date with injections – Many pet insurers will not pay-out on claims if you haven’t adequately vaccinated your pet. Avoid this by staying current with all injections and keep your vaccination certificates in a safe place.
Apply for multi-pet policies – Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, suggests looking into multi-pet policies to see if they offer better savings than separately insuring each of your pets.
Have Dog, Will Travel
Though Rover and Felix probably deserve the odd day at the pet spa, sending them to a kennel and cattery every time you travel can be expensive. Instead, look into pet-friendly holidays that accommodate the 4-legged members of your family. Rather than flying, set out on a road trip through Europe. If you travel to the EU regularly, consider the Government’s pet travel scheme.
So, while at times pets can seem to cost an arm and a leg (and a tail), a bit of research can save you lots on needless pet expenses. Just remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best-value option.