Shake Paws

— the home of dogs —

How much will your pet dog cost over its lifetime?

by Shake Paws

With even a medium-sized dog costing its owner getting on for £17,000 over the course of its lifetime, it is worth being fully aware of what you are letting yourself in for…

Each Christmas people all over the UK enjoy a furry addition to their family in the form of a new pet. So, in an effort to inform potential pet owners about the responsibility and cost involved with owning a pet, has created a ‘Cost of Christmas Pets’ calculator (click the GBP button to get the price in dollars):

View interactive version (via Totally Money).

Credit eligibility and comparison specialist has teamed up with animals charity Wood Green in an attempt to educate people on the time and financial commitment involved in adopting a pet.

Founded in 1924, Wood Green is one of the leading animal welfare organisations in the UK. As well as cats and dogs, Wood Green finds loving new homes for thousands of chickens, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, ferrets and more, rehoming over 4000 animals in the past 12 months alone.

“We appreciate that people sometimes have to make the difficult decision to give up their pet, but our doors are always open for anyone needing support, advice, or help rehoming a pet,” said Wood Green’s Linda Cantle. “This Christmas we’ll be looking after over 650 animals who are desperately seeking new homes and we would love to find them their own living rooms. Please get in touch if you can offer a loving home.”

The main reasons Christmas pets are abandoned are:

  • Cost
  • Unwanted litters
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Not enough time to spend with the pet/training the pet
  • Allergies
  • Pet old age/illness
  • Clashes with other pets
  • Too many animals at home
  • Owner’s ill health.

While animals can often seem like an ideal addition to a family, the overall cost can be hard to understand. Totally Money’s research shows that even a small dog can cost £19,224 over its lifetime.

Pets can now be bought online, on a whim, without serious thought. Last year Wood Green, the animals charity, tracked 40,000 internet adverts selling dogs alone, in just on one day. Wood Green now promotes pets in their care online but backed by the support and advice potential owners need to make the best pet match.

By adopting a pet from a charity such as Wood Green, not only will you be giving a new life to a homeless pet, you will also be certain that they have had the veterinary checks they need and that you have the support to keep your pet healthy and happy.

By adopting a shelter pet you could be saving an animal that otherwise would not get a chance of living in a happy home. These rescued animals are often housetrained, familiar with family life, neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds on training and veterinary fees.

While all pets deserve to be looked after properly, there are ways you can reduce the costs of caring for them.

One of the best gifts you can give your pet is to spend quality time with them over the holiday period and even try your hand at making them their own special gifts with these pet treat recipe cards from Wood Green.

Despite some pets being more pampered more than others, the most expensive pet lives a more subdued lifestyle. The tortoise, on account of its long average lifespan, can cost an owner £27,787 over 75 years – so it’s not only money but also a lifetime of commitment that is needed to properly care for a tortoise. The UK’s most expensive pets are:

  • Tortoise: £27,787 over 75 years
  • Small dog: £19,224 over 15 years
  • Large dog: £17,234 over 11.5 years
  • Medium dog: £16,828 over 11.5 years
  • Cat: £12,322 over 16 years

Totally Money has created an infographic (shown at the bottom of this post) that reveals how much the UK’s estimated 13 million pet owners spend on their animals on average.

However, a sadly familiar story is that many of these dogs are abandoned after the festive season. It is estimated that 130,000 dogs are abandoned each year in the UK.

Totally Money also conducted a survey which revealed that, despite the costs, only 2% of UK pet owners regret getting their animal and have considered getting rid of it. In fact, 95% of dog owners consider their four-legged friend to be a family member. Even after telling cat owners that their pet would cost them the same amount as a deposit on a house, 88% claimed they would rather have the cat.

“Wood Green cares for thousands of animals every year,” added Cantle. “This year we want to treat all of our animals to an extra special Christmas. We are asking you to buy a Christmas Care Box, so we can give pets nutritious food, snuggly blankets, heat pads and treats. Visit the Wood Green website or call 0300 303 9876 to find out more about our animals looking for a home and to make a donation to our Christmas appeal.”

View interactive version (via