Owning a pet can be expensive with research showing the first year costs thousands on average – from bedding and food, to the damage they wreak on our homes. The poll from Nationwide Home Insurance, which coincides with National Pet Month, reveals Brits pay an average of £3,500 to cover the initial starting costs as well as the ongoing monthly bills.
Nationwide, which is the only high street financial services provider to offer accidental damage caused by pets as standard on their Home Insurance product, conducted the research to gauge the true cost of keeping an animal.
The research shows a huge variation in the costs of keeping different animals. When it comes to cats versus dogs, felines come out on top financially as the poll shows cat owners pay on average just half (£2,455) the amount dog owners do (£4,791) over the course of the first year.
And for anyone thinking about getting a horse, they will need to be prepared for a significant outlay as the Nationwide poll shows that the first year of equine ownership costs an average of £12,654 – perhaps not surprising given the cost of a horse is likely to run into thousands and the significant monthly cost of livery yards.
Fish are the most cost-effective pet to own with annual expenditure of just £769 – including the tank, pumps and associated equipment, while a rabbit – hutch and all – will set someone back an average of £1,802, according to the survey.
While the average amount spent on the animal itself comes to just £147, one in five (20%) pet owners spend more than £250. The poll shows horses (£2,322), dogs (£591), lizards (£324) and guinea pigs (£283) are the most expensive animals to purchase.
And as any pet owner will know, the impact on household finances continues once the animal becomes part of the family. The research shows Brits spend around £3,024 per year – £252 each month – on their ongoing care, including items such as food, vet bills, treats, toys and pet insurance.
When it comes to specific animals there is clearly a huge difference in associated costs. Horses are the biggest drain on the family finances, at £861 per month, while a dog will set owners back £350 each month. Fish are by far the cheapest, at an average of £588 a year (£49 per month).