Buying a puppy or a kitten is often a decision led from the heart rather than the head. We know there are many benefits of being a pet owner. There’s nothing quite like their unconditional love. They can provide comfort and can be a welcome distraction in tough times. And owning an active pet can keep you physically healthy too: think walks around the block or runs down at your local dog park.

Yet, when considering getting a pet, it’s really important to think about the costs associated with pet ownership as well as the benefits.

So, what costs should you consider if you’re thinking of getting a pet?

Initial costs

Buying a pet these days can be very expensive, unless you’re looking at a couple of goldfish but even then you’ll be up for some initial and ongoing costs. So, if you’ve got your heart set on a puppy, think about alternatives, do you really need the pedigree pooch or will you find your furbaby at the local animal shelter.

The costs can be high while you introduce your pet into your home but these should reduce unless something dramatic, like an injury, occurs. As your pet ages, the costs may start to rise again if more medications and vet care is needed.

Pet health

The health of your pet is super important. Vet visits including check ups, vaccinations, medications like antibiotics for infections, flea and worming treatments can really add up. There are also things like, the cost of desexing your animal (or not!) that need to be considered as well. Unfortunately, pet accidents do happen and unlike humans, there’s no public healthcare system for animals to back you up if emergency surgery is required.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance is a relatively new thing. Like other forms of insurance, there are many options to consider when deciding if you take out pet insurance. The age and breed of your dog, their disposition and propensity for injury or health problems will influence your thinking.

You may decide it suits you better to set aside funds in a savings account for pet health on a regular basis rather than paying a monthly or annual insurance premium. You could build up a pool of funds to have on hand if an expensive operation or treatment is needed.

Pet food

Yes, you need to feed your pet. Pet food can be one of the most significant ongoing expenses. If your pets is fussy or has particular dietary needs, there’s a dizzying array of food options to choose from.. While you might like to lovingly prepare a meal from scratch for your furry pal that caters to their tastes and nutrition needs, the reality is that commercially made food will be a more convenient and practical, if perhaps the more expensive option.

Your pet’s accessories

Collars, leads, harnesses, toys, coats and even bandanas make up the modern pet’s wardrobe and they don’t come cheap. Keeping your pet safe and under control is a priority and the right lead or harness can make all the difference so it is worth investing. Some pets like to play hard so toy durability is key. Some pets love squeaky toys, some prefer bones or balls. A chunky bone can keep an otherwise destructive pup distracted for hours. Keep your eyes peeled for sales and then stock up on those items you and your pet love.

Bedtime comfort

Gone are the days of the makeshift pet bed… there’s now a stunning array of sleeping options to buy to make your pet comfortable. Depending on your lifestyle and your pet’s personality, they may spend a large chunk of the day sleeping so it’s worth investing in a comfy bed. Typically, the bigger the pet, the bigger the bed, the more you’ll need to spend. There’s also the risk your pet will destroy their bed and you’ll need to replace it, so you may want to factor this in when deciding on how much to spend initially

Being away from your pet

When you go on holiday or travel for work, you can’t always take your pet along for the ride. so a boarding kennel or a pet minding service might need to be added to your budget. If you have to be away from your pet during the day, and you’re not comfortable leaving them home alone, there are services to keep them entertained and cared for while you aren’t there. Whether they go to a dedicated location or someone visits your place, these services usually come at a cost.

And the rest

Obedience training, registration fees, carpet cleaning, water bowls and puppacinos at the local café are just some of the other costs to consider. One way to ensure you’re financially prepared is to budget an amount each month to cover them. With a little planning and preparation, pet ownership can be the best experience for both you and your furry friend.

Please note: this information is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. You should consider this before acting on any of the information contained.