While the UK has always been devoted to dogs, the new normal of the past year has created a surge in demand for puppies rarely seen before. As more Brits have succumbed to the “pull of the pooch”, a number of issues have surfaced in the industry, not least the rising price of the dogs themselves.
Lockdown or not, the cost of owning a dog is probably higher than you think. To own one, you need to manage your finances carefully in order to absorb the additional weekly, monthly and yearly costs associated with providing for your pet – and account for any unforeseen costs along the road.
But what are those costs? With prices at their peak, we look at the true cost of owning a dog in 2021.
Brace yourself for the initial cost
If you plan to buy right now, be prepared to pay a significant premium. With the demand for dogs soaring, prices have risen to eye-watering levels. In September, the BBC reported that the price of a puppy had more than doubled to £1,900 on average, with popular breeds often selling for more than £3,000.
Considering the issues surrounding black market breeding and unhealthy dogs going to unsuspecting new owners, it’s more essential than ever that you do your utmost due diligence when buying in the current market.
In due course, lockdown premiums will settle down and upfront prices will return to normal levels. However, that doesn’t mean owning a dog suddenly becomes cheap. Anyone looking into ownership should understand the typical values that are likely to be involved with providing for their dog over the course of its lifetime before they make the decision to buy.
According to figures from PDSA, lifetime spend estimates are:
- Small dog breeds: £4,600-£8,900
- Medium dog breeds: £7,000-£11,000
- Large dog breeds: £5,700-£13,000
The figures stated above are considered minimum estimates, too, meaning owners should expect to pay at least this figure across their pet’s lifetime.
Breaking things down, once you’ve bought your dog, you’ll need to spend an initial chunk of ash on doggy essentials, namely things like:
- A lead, collar and tag
- Initial vaccinations
- Monthly worming (up until your dog is six months old)
A full list of first day essentials is available on the PDSA page. Estimated total costs are:
- Small dog breeds: £370
- Medium dog breeds: £395
- Large dog breeds: £425
There are a number of ongoing spends you’ll need to factor into your budget on a weekly, monthly and annual basis, dependent on the provision. These are along the lines of:
- Worming and flea treatments
- Yearly health checks
Again, you can find a full list and links with the PDSA. Monthly cost estimates for these items are:
- Small dog: £50
- Medium dog: £65
- Large dog: £80
The costs above are what’s to be expected if your time with your dog is all smooth sailing. Unfortunately, unforeseen problems, mainly relating to health issues and associated veterinary costs, do happen, and they’re something you need to budget for – even if you don’t want to think about them. There are also additional costs to consider that differ based on your lifestyle and experience, including day care, kennels, training classes.
The cost of these services will vary widely dependent on a number of factors such as your insurance cover and regularity of need but can comfortably add on thousands of pounds in some cases. Your responsibility in this regard will be to consider your potential needs and requirements and account for them financially.
For many people, owning a dog is undoubtedly one of life’s great experiences, however the practical and financial demands of ownership should never be ignored. After all, both you and your dog deserve a good life, so it’s important you ensure you have the resources to provide for both before you take the plunge.