Dog Pet Insurance and Dog Ownership Costs.
|It costs the typical British dog owner more than £30,000 to keep a dog over
its lifetime, according to Good Housekeeping magazine.
in the UK are costing us more than we think and the shock figure was the result of a survey carried out by the magazine and
includes costs such as food, grooming, vet's bills and insurance, among others.
Pet insurer Helpucover also recently reported that the average cost of treating a fractured leg for a dog is
£776, with Good Housekeeping estimating average annual veterinary costs at £280.
Caroline Bloor, consumer editor at Good Housekeeping, hopes the survey will lead to fewer pets
being abandoned by owners unaware of the likely costs.
hope this study will help people understand that pets can be expensive and go some way towards stopping unwanted healthy animals
being left at rescue centres and, in the worst cases, being put down,' she says.
Dr Eric Jackson, veterinary adviser for Helpucover, says: 'According to RSPCA figures, nearly one-fifth
of people who bought a puppy in the past two years no longer have their dog. This is why people purchasing a new dog should
Costs vary wildly depending on pedigree or
size but making an uninformed choice at the outset can lead to a lifetime of expense. The Labrador tops the list of breeds
with the most health problems in 2010 (see Helpucover table below), with the Boxer at number two and Golden Retrievers at
BRITAIN'S MOST EXPENSIVE BREEDS
3 Golden Retreiver
4 German Shepherd
5 Cocker Spaniel
West Highland White Terrier
7 English Springer Spaniel
8 Staffordshire Bull Terrier
9 Border Collie
[Source: Helpucover and PDSA claims per breed statistics in 2010] Dr Jackson says: 'Labradors topped
the list because they will carry long-term hereditary conditions that make them more vulnerable to conditions that affect
all dogs in general.'
Annie Blackwood, a pet owner from
Wales, has a Boxer named Clarrie, and is all too well aware of the costs involved in owning the breed. When Clarrie was first
tested by an allergy specialist, test results showed that she was suffering from multiple major reactions. Clarrie turned
out to be one of the most allergic dogs the specialist had seen.
main medication costs £40 per week. But this causes gum overgrowth side effects, which Ms Blackwood says 'involves
about three hours of surgery every eight months costing £400 to £500 each time.'
Helpucover adds: 'One of the problems with a lot of pet insurance
is that once you have claimed on a condition for your pet, they won't pay out any money if your pet has any problems related
to that same condition. It's best for pet owners to think about lifelong insurance, such as Helpucover's, to make
sure that their pet is covered for life.'
So what lies behind
the great British love affair with our four-legged friends? According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) the
top five reasons for owning a dog or cat are: 'companionship'; 'always wanting one'; 'believing they are
easy to look after'; 'pet was rescued'; and 'fitting in with lifestyle'.
Pets have also become a status symbol and sign of wealth. The Daily Mail reported last week
that a red Tibetan Mastiff had become the priciest dog in the world after being bought for £945,000 by a multi-millionaire
Chinese coal baron.
Would-be dog owners in the UK can expect
to pay £700 or more for a pedigree pup who will often enjoy the best of everything, even when times are hard.
Liz Hamson, deputy editor of The Grocer magazine, says: 'People are always willing
to spend more on certain things. And those things are pets and children. Consumers actually spent more on pets during the
recession partly because of a focus on innovation by manufacturers but also because products are now appealing to the human
rather than the pet. Experts are calling it the humanisation effect.'
Figures from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed the overall UK pet food market grew 6.7% to £1.5bn in the
year to last August. And while the dog food market does not reflect the 'humanisation effect' the dog treats market
alone rose 4.3% to £189m, according to recent figures from Symphony – a market researcher. The Pet Food Manufacturers
Association estimates that between 30% and 60% of UK pets are obese. No wonder.
Commenting on the humanisation effect, Dr Jackson said: 'In a lot of cases pets are replacement family.
And it's common that they are treated like family members, which again reinforces the point of lifelong insurance for
Helpucover has listed its top tips to help
save people save money if they are planning to get a dog:
Visit rescue homes and choose carefully
• Get a mongrel as they
have fewer problems than pure breeds
• Clean your pet's teeth
daily or give dental chews
• Buy pet insurance, with lifetime
cover offering the best value
• Get your dog neutered, unless
you want more mouths to feed
• Buy pet food in bulk, but make
sure your dog likes it first
• Keep up to date with vaccinations.
Prevention is better and cheaper
• Buy toys from charity shops
• Order over-the-counter pet medications online for discounts
• Set up a house sitting/feeding rota with neighbours.
• Stop buying accessories. Who cares if Fido has a sparkly collar?
AVERAGE ANNUAL COST OF OWNING A DOG Average
Essential vet costs£280
Boarding kennel (two-week holiday)£238
TOTAL LIFETIME COST£30,380 (approx.)
Good Housekeeping magazine based on 12-year life expectancy]