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Upfront Costs to Owning a Pet
Tuesday June 13th 2017
Bringing your pet home for the first time is incredibly exciting. And whereas we all know that our furry friend can be costly when it comes to food and vet bills, what you may not realise is the upfront costs of your new best friend.
Whether you’re buying your pet from a breeder or adopting them from a shelter, you’ll need to set aside some money for initial costs. Even adopting may involve fees and vaccination costs. Plus, it’s important to think about getting him or her spayed or neutered so you don’t end up with more mouths to feed than you expected.
Take a look at our guidelines for finding the perfect puppy
Stock up on food
If you know your pet will eat it and enjoys the brand, consider buying food in bulk – especially if it’s on offer – so you’re not only well stocked up, you’re also going to save cash by buying stockpiling. Just make sure it won’t go off anytime soon.
Getting your home ready
Have you thought about getting your home up to code before your pet comes home to live with you? Cats may seem laidback, but they actually get extremely stressed in new environments. You may want to consider getting a Feliway diffuser, which is a synthetic version of the cat facial pheromone that helps to calm them and make them feel secure. You’ll also need to think about a cat flap, although keep it closed for the first couple of weeks so they don’t run off!
If your new pet is a dog, you may want to make sure your garden fences are robust and high enough so Fido can’t make a run for it. You may also want to hide your favourite shoes, or put them well out of doggy-chewing territory!
Rabbits will obviously need a hutch either indoors or out. Make sure you talk to your vet before buying a hutch as many people underestimate how large their new rabbit hutch needs to be. Give him or her enough room to feel comfortable without making them feel exposed.
In the UK it’s the law that you have to get your dog microchipped and this isn’t free. But not only is it the law, it’s also good sense. According to recent reports 250,000 pets go missing every year and not only is it costly to try and get them back, it’s also incredibly upsetting. Microchipping greatly increasing the chances of your pet being found. And even though it isn’t the law for cats to be microchipped, you should still make it a priority. It’s one of those things that you’re incredibly glad you did if you ever need it.
Maybe not something to worry about if your new pet is a cat or a rabbit, but dog owners should factor this into their budgets. A puppy will almost certainly need training and even an older dog can be taught new tricks. It may seem like an extravagant cost, but actually it’s one that should pay dividends in the future. You’ll have a better relationship with your dog and (hopefully) won’t have to pay out for naughty behaviour – such as ruining your brand-new sofa or running off and causing a ruckus. Plus, getting them housetrained will make everyone’s lives happy.
Collars, beds, leads, treats, toys, litter trays and scratching posts. You may not need all of these things straight away, but if you’re getting a cat – at the bare minimum – you’ll need a scratching post and a litter tray before you bring them home.
And importantly, if you’re bringing home a dog, by law they’ll need a collar with a tag that displays your:
• Your last name
It’s also worth noting that many people recommend not putting the name of your dog on their tags, so potential thieves can’t easily call them.
Plus, how are you going to get them home? It’s unsafe to carry an animal on your lap in a car. You’ll need a comfy carrier for a cat and rabbit and consider a crate or doggie seatbelt for your new pup.
The most expensive part of getting a pet. It’s important to get the correct insurance cover for your pet so you’re covered should the worst happen. Don’t wait until there’s a problem to get insurance, by then it may be too late.
For more info check out our handy budgeting guide