Money Matters: Is your dog the most expensive member of your family?

A dog is indeed ‘man’s best friend’ – but is your beloved canine so important to you that he (or she) has fast become the most expensive member of your family? In our latest ‘Money Matters’ article, we look at how much money you can expect to spend on a dog, featuring quotes from the Unity Mutual team , and our own friends and family.

What is the (rough) cost of owning a dog?

When you get a dog, you’re legally required to meet their five welfare needs – and, of course, the very best care and attention doesn’t come cheap.

According to PDSA, ‘you should expect a dog to cost you at least £5,200’ over its lifetime, but that figure depends on the breed of dog, says the animal charity; some medium to large dog breeds could set you back up to £15,700.

Samantha, a mum of three from Lancaster, owns three French Bulldogs – Nova, Luna, and Dora. She says: “Only the best for my Frenchie girls”, adding that the cost of owning a dog doesn’t faze her.

Her trio of pups regularly feast on a raw diet “as it’s the best there is for them.”

She says she spends, on average, around £40 a week on her dogs’ food – in comparison to roughly £120 a week for a family of five!

Part of the Family

Before the dogs even bounded into Samantha and her partner’s family home for the first time, they’d set her back nearly £2,000 each – and the dogs are now as much a part of the family as the children.

“Should we buy a dog?” That’s the question on many pet lovers’ lips. After all, they’re expensive and require plenty of walks, which inevitably means plenty of flexibility on your part.

"I never had a pet growing up, but my husband fondly remembers his childhood dog and would love to introduce one into the family. “ says Laura, from Huddersfield. “After discovering how much dogs cost, I'm taken aback - and so is he! As a kid, he obviously had no idea about the costs involved. That said, I'm sure he'd quickly forget how much food, dog toys and vet's bills are combined if we later decide to go ahead."


“My Heart Says We Should Get a Dog But My Head Says No”


Laura’s husband, Gareth, adds: “My heart says we should get a dog but my head says no. I've heard too many stories about the cost of vet's bills and the insurance only covering so much of them etc."


Stacey, from Morecambe, thinks everyone who can provide a loving home – and can afford one – should get a dog.

“My pooch (Bonnie – a working cocker spaniel)  is so pampered, not necessarily just in terms of money, but generally. She loves having her nails filed and will literally rest her head on the palm of your hand for ‘attention’.” she says.

“Here’s a phrase I hear a lot: money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make a dog’s tail wag.”

So, can you introduce a dog to your home without breaking the bank?

Shelters are a great place to look for healthy adult dogs and puppies, says Pet Helpful, but while this may seem like the ‘cheaper option’ in terms of initial outlay, rescue dogs can come with their own set of challenges – and, often, higher costs.

Before you make a huge decision like buying or rescuing a dog, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you afford a dog?
  • Do you have the patience to train a dog?
  • Are you allowed to have a dog where you live – and do you have space?
  • Can you provide a healthy and loving space from which a dog can thrive?

You could put together a loose budget before you consider buying a dog; you could also ask relatives who have pets to offer their honest advice.

Do not enter into the decision lightly; think about saving enough to cover your day-to-day expenses for homing a pet, as well as any unforeseen expenditure, such as vet’s bills

Ready to add a dog to your family?

Need to put more money aside so you can continue to spoil your pooch? Or maybe you’re keen to buy a dog? The cost of owning a canine friend may make others grimace, but not you.

Take a look at our products, from our Lifetime ISA (designed to help you save for the perfect pad for you and your dog, perhaps) to our Investment Bond, each designed to help you work towards your own financial goals, whether that is treating the hairiest member of your family (or anyone else for that matter).

Have a question or two about our financial products? Do not hesitate to get in touch.

Until next time…

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