Getting a pet is extremely rewarding, they can fill your life with lots of happiness and joy, and can be a great companion whether you’re on your own or part of a family. However there is a downside to having a pet and that's the price, over the course of their lives they can end up costing an awful lot of money. Even if you find a cheap animal to buy, you will still need to pay to maintain and care for as long as they live which can be a big commitment. Before buying a pet you should be absolutely sure you can afford to care for them so here are some prices to think about before taking the leap.
Dogs are such rewarding pets– they’re cute, funny and loyal: however they take a lot more time, money and energy than you'd probably think. Be 100% sure you can handle the commitment before taking the plunge, and work out if your current lifestyle is suitable. Ideally you will have a good size, safe and fully enclosed garden- while some dogs can live happily in flats be aware that this will involve taking them out many times throughout the day which is extremely time consuming. If you're someone who likes to travel or stay away from home a lot, it's probably not the best time to consider getting a dog. If you just take an occasional trip or holiday you can board your dog at kennels, prices vary but they can cost an awful lot per dog per day so definitely not an option for the frequent traveller. Of course, as well as the fact that regular kennel stays is something that will disrupt your dog and not be enjoyable to them. Regular medicines such as flea, worm and tick treatment will help to keep them at their best, Pet-Lock dog flea and tick medicine combines the two so products like this can make it a little easier. Other expenses to consider are food, bedding, leads, toys, treats, vaccinations and possible visits to the vet.
While cats do still need plenty of human companionship, they're much more independent than dogs which makes them ideal for most owners and households. They're just as happy in a flat as they are in a big house (providing they have their own space to hide and retreat), they don't need to be walked or trained and are generally low maintenance pets. As they're smaller than most dogs, cats tend to be cheaper to feed and in general they don't need as much equipment as dogs do. Many cats can live harmoniously alongside each other in a household so if you want a number of furry companions this is a good option. Just be sure to budget for flea and worm treatment, food and potential vet costs including vaccinations. Large bags of cat food bought in bulk are particularly good for multi cat households and will cost you far less in the long run.
If you're short on space or are after a smaller pet, small mammals like rodents, guinea pigs or rabbits could be the way to go. You will need to invest in a suitable hutch or cage, bedding and their food. Providing they're kept in same sex pairs or groups, most small furries won't need neutering- rabbits are often neutered before being sold at pet shops. So that's one cost you probably won’t need to worry about, but even if you do it will be cheaper than with a dog or cat. Different rodent varieties and small mammals like this will all require slightly different care, so be sure to do your research beforehand so you know what to expect. In general, small rodents won’t be particularly expensive to either buy or keep so are a good option if you’re looking for a starter pet that won’t break the bank.
Pets such as lizards, tarantulas, and snakes are all classed as exotic pets. Depending on what you go for these can be quite expensive to own with the main cost being their living space, you'll need to buy a special vivarium to keep them in as well as all of the lights and other set up required- this will keep them at their optimum temperature so that they can survive in non-tropical climates. You'll also need to buy special food, some pet shops will stock food for exotic pets although you may need to look online for it. This can be quite expensive, especially in the case of pets that will only eat live insects! While these are not the kind of pets I'd go for personally, if you're after something a bit more interesting than a hamster or gerbil they could be for you!
Pet ownership isn’t all fluffy mammals or small exotics, if you want something bigger and more of a challenge then horses make wonderful pets. However they are possibly one of the most expensive pets to own, as they will need a lot of maintenance and have additional costs involved since they won’t be living in your home. There is no one ‘perfect' way to care for all horses and ponies (because every animal and every situation is different) but it's down to you to ensure reasonable steps are taken to meet all its needs. This will include a suitable ‘home', unless you own an enormous plot of land with stables you'll probably need to rent a stable which will be expensive. Plenty of grass and roughage to graze on, grooming and cleaning. Getting your horse insured is a smart move otherwise your vet bills might end up being through the roof. Unless you have a lot of time to spare, you could consider doing a horse ‘share' of your pet where you split the responsibilities with someone else.
What’s your biggest expense as a pet owner? Do you own any of these pets, if so which costs you the most money and why?