Got a pension question? Our help is impartial and free to use. Get in touch online or over the phone on 0800 011 3797

What is the average cost of owning a pet?

Published on:

Over their lifetime, the average cost of owning a pet is between £16,000 and £33,000 for a dog or cat. But, of course, some pets can be a lot cheaper, and others much, much more expensive.

For example, a horse might have you saying neigh to the £12,000 bill in the first year alone, while a hamster could have you squeaking with delight, costing just £100 a year.

Average cost of buying a pet

There are a huge number of different factors to consider here, not least the kind of pet you’re thinking about buying.

A dog from a reputable breeder or rescue home can cost as little as £50 to £150, but large pedigree dogs can cost thousands. Even popular hybrids like Labradoodles can cost between £750 and £1,000.

Cats start at about the same price, even a bit less, but a purebred pedigree kitten from a good breeder can cost up to £1,000.

Small rodents, like guinea pigs and hamsters cost a lot less, usually between £10 and £20.

Budgerigars and other small birds are also not going to ruffle any feathers, generally costing less than £20.

Average cost of pet food

For cats and dogs, food is likely to cost between £200 and £400 a year, but there are a lot of variables in play here.

Larger dogs will, quite naturally, cost more to feed, plus there is a huge range in the price of pet food. More expensive, higher quality feed can be beneficial to the pets’ health, but you should check the ingredients to make sure you’re actually getting more meat and less filler.

Hamsters, mice and other rodents cost a lot less to feed.

Average cost of toys and bedding for your pet

Bedding, toys, bowls, shampoos, dental sticks. All of those added extras soon mount up.

Obviously, an average amount is hard to calculate and if you insist on buying designer clothing for your dog then you’re going to be spending more.

But, taking a wide range, you’re probably looking at £200 to £500 a year.

Average pet insurance cost

Research by Which? found the average cost of a lifetime pet insurance policy is a fur-raising £472 a year for a dog and £285 for a cat.

A one-year policy on its own is going to be a lot cheaper during the early years of your dog or cat’s life, but it will start to get more expensive when they get to six or seven years old.

But be careful. If you don’t have a lifetime policy, you might even find it impossible to insure your pet once they get to eight or nine, or even younger for some breeds.

If you have a taste for exotic pets, then you might need to forget about this as most insurers will not cover snakes, lizards and other similar animals.

The average cost of vet bills for your pet

The reason insurance is so important, is because vet bills can be incredibly expensive, particularly if ongoing treatment is required.

Surgery costs on average £1,500, while a full course of chemotherapy can be as much as £5,000.

Hopefully your furry friend keeps itself out of the worst kinds of scrapes, but even common problems can set you back hundreds.

Average cost of pet vaccinations

If you get a new puppy or kitten, you need to get them vaccinated. Your initial round of jabs will cost around £100, but you will also need to factor in the annual boosters, which cost about £50.

But, if you get a rescue puppy or kitten, they will often have the first round of injections done for you before you can take them home.

Average cost of spaying or neutering a pet

You might think this is a pretty standard operation that would come with a pretty standard price, but no. The cost of spaying or neutering your pet varies a lot.

While the average cost is between £60 and £180, it can cost a lot more if you have a bigger dog and up to several hundred pounds for very large canines.

Average pet microchipping cost

At last, something where there isn’t a massive range in price.

Microchipping your dog is now a legal requirement (although it’s not yet for cats) and costs between £15 and £20. If you don’t, there’s a fine of up to £500.

Average cost of flea and worming treatment for your pet

This is going to set you back about £10 a month. Worming treatments are more expensive at £10 to £15, but only need to be done every three months, while flea treatments cost about £5 a month.

Average cost of pet grooming

Grooming is a vital part of keeping your pet healthy, but the average cost varies a lot.

Some dogs and cats, particularly those with short hair, will not need to be groomed as regularly, while particularly fluffy animals will need a regular haircut.

Costs vary a lot, depending on the size of the dog, but are usually between £20 for small dogs and puppies up to at least £80 for larger dogs.

The big question here is how often do they need to be groomed. While some low-maintenance dogs only need trimming a couple of times a year, others might need a trip to the salon every couple of months.

Do pet passports still exist after Brexit?

Since January 2021, pet passports that were issued in Great Britain are no longer valid for travel to to the EU or Northern Ireland. If you want to take your cat or dog on a foreign holiday with you, you will instead need to get an animal healthcare certificate. This will set you back around £100 per animal per visit and need to be issued by a licensed vet. 

Average cost of kennels and catteries

Now, you might think that’s quite a lot of money to spend on a passport for you dog, but if you go away, boarding kennels and catteries are not exactly cheap.

An average cost is difficult to come up with, but you will be looking at around £17 a day for dogs and £10 a day for cats, plus extras.

A live-in pet sitter, might cost you a bit more at around £25 a day, but your dog or cat will be safe and sound in their own home.

How much do pet transport and courier services cost?

The cost of transporting your pet to a new location obviously depends a lot on how far they need to travel.

If, for example, you’re moving to another part of the UK, a pet transport or courier service is probably going to cost you less than £100.

But, transport overseas will be a lot more expensive as not only are you looking at transport at either end, but a plane ticket as well.

Average pet cremation cost

Unfortunately, at some point will come the time when you have to say goodbye to your pet.

First, there is the cost of having your pet put to sleep. There are a lot of factors in play here, but in general, you’re looking at £30 to £60.

The cremation cost depends on whether or not you want the ashes back.

An individual cremation costs between £150 and £300, but if you don’t want the ashes back it will probably only cost £50

Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for pensions guidance using…
Our pensions webchat and telephone helpline will be closed on Tuesday 28 March for staff training. We will re-open on Wednesday 29.
Talk to us live for money guidance using…
Over 50 and want to know your pension options? Our call centre is closed right now, but you can explore your options with our simple online tool Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9am–5pm inc 23, 29 and 30 Dec
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed: 24–28 Dec and 31 Dec to 3 Jan 2022

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for money guidance using the telephone
  • Mon – Fri:8am–6pm inc 23, 29 and 30 Dec
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed: 24–28 Dec and 31 Dec to 3 Jan 2022

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for pensions guidance using web chat
  • Mon-Fri8am-6pm
  • Sat8am - 3pm
  • Sun and bank holidaysClosed
Talk to us live for money guidance using web chat
  • Mon, Wed, Fri8.20am - 6.20pm
  • Tues, Thurs9am - 6.20pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidaysClosed
Talk to us for pensions guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us for money guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us live for money guidance using WhatsApp

Download app: WhatsApp

For help sorting out your debts, credit questions or pensions guidance. For everything else please contact us via Webchat or Telephone.