It’s no surprise that dog ownership has soared during lockdown. With more time to spend dedicated to your canine friend, it certainly feels like the perfect opportunity for anyone who has been considering buying or rescuing a dog. But owning a dog often comes with a lot of hidden costs that some pet owners are not prepared for.
Do you know how much bringing a dog home could cost? We’ve broken down the most common costs of our four-legged friends.
Who’s top dog? The most popular puppies purchased during lockdown
Throughout 2020 and into 2021, puppy purchases have increased. The price of these pups varies, depending on their breed and pedigree. While you can expect to pay £240 to rehome a puppy from the Dogs Trust, bringing a Golden Retriever puppy home can cost over £4000.
Cocker Spaniels have been the most popular breed of dog purchased since lockdown began. The Miniature Dachshund comes in second, with the Springer Spaniel, French Bulldog and Cockapoo making up the rest of the top five.
Did you know?
The cost of buying certain breeds of dog has increased. Not only does buying a new pup come with a long-term commitment, but initial costs have more than doubled in price since 2019 – meaning that many of these dogs come with a very hefty price tag.
With puppies being in incredibly high demand across the country, breeders have been increasing the price of their litters ready to sell this spring. Remember to thoroughly research a breeder before purchasing a puppy. Selecting a breeder from the Kennel Club Assured breeder list is a good idea and be cautious when buying over the internet or local newspapers as these advertisements may come from a puppy farm. Alternatively, you could consider adopting your new four-legged friend. There are plenty of rescue centres up and down the country including:
- Blue Cross
- Dogs Trust
- Wood Green
Whether you choose to buy from a breeder or adopt, it is vital to remember the initial price is just one of many costs that come with being a new puppy owner.
How much is that puppy in the window? The most common extra costs that come with buying a new puppy
As all pet owners will know, the initial price to bring your furry companion home is just the beginning. However, some of the hidden costs can come as a shock. You’ve got the dog bed and the toys lined up, but some new dog owners might be taken by surprise by the additional costs of looking after your new dog’s health.
Common puppy health care costs:
These are the most common healthcare costs, as sourced from Money Supermarket’s guide to average vet bills and information from the Royal Veterinary College on dog vaccines. This list is not exhaustive, and for full details of the health needs of your pet it always best to speak to your vet.
Our in-house Vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, has also shared her thoughts on why Brits need to keep up with these treatments:
“As with all healthcare, prevention is always better than cure. Taking your dog for regular check-ups can help to spot any signs of ill health early. Vaccinations are vital, as is regular flea and worming treatments. Dental care is especially important in dogs and there are things you can do at home to support healthy teeth and gums. For example, regular brushing with a dog-friendly toothbrush and paste can help to reduce the risks of dental disease later in life.
Puppies generally receive their primary course of vaccinations when they are eight to ten weeks old. They normally have two or three injections, a couple of weeks apart. After this, they’ll need a booster every year. It is absolutely vital that you take your dog for all their vaccinations throughout their life to protect them from diseases such as parainfluenza and canine parvovirus.
You need to treat your dog for worms at least every three months. However, the exact frequency depends on your dog’s lifestyle. It’s best to seek the advice of your veterinary practice to find out the right routine for your dog. Standard worming treatment does not cover treatment for lungworm, so make sure your dog’s worming routine includes protection for lungworm.”
If you’re planning to take your dog abroad, they will need additional protection. The rabies vaccine is vital, and with the changing Pet Passport scheme, you will also now need certain health certificates before leaving the country.
Did you know?
It is a legal requirement that you get your dog microchipped. In April 2016, new legislation stated that all dogs must be microchipped and registered by the time that they are eight weeks old. In England, you can be fined up to £500 if your dog is not microchipped.
Microchipping is a quick and simple procedure that won’t hurt your dog but will help to keep them safe if they should ever go missing. Speak to your vet for further information.
Are you covered? The importance of pet insurance
Pet insurance is a cost you cannot afford to ignore. Investing in a good quality insurance plan is vital. Most thorough plans will cover the majority of accidents or illnesses, so by keeping up to date with your pet insurance you can help to bring down the cost of potential vet bills.
According to Go Compare, for a medium size, 7-year-old dog with no pre-existing conditions, monthly insurance costs can range from £12 up to £97. The cost of cover depends on a number of factors, including age, pedigree and size, but it is worth considering the following limits:
- The excess
- Per condition and annual policy limits
- Time limited policies: Is the cover lifetime, or time limited?
- Is this an accident only, or accident and illness policy?
Remember to always read the small print because your insurance may:
- Exclude the normal costs of pet ownership (e.g. fleas treatments, check-ups, worming, vaccines, and neutering).
- Exclude pre-existing conditions (there are specialist insurance policies available for pets with pre-existing conditions).
- Exclude costs associated with pregnancy or giving birth.
- Exclude costs of dental treatment not associated with illness or injury.
- Exclude costs associated with behavioural problems that could have been prevented by usual puppy training.
- Our in-house Vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, adds:
- “Looking after our pet’s physical wellbeing is extremely important. But the emotional wellbeing of our dogs is also key to a good quality of life. Behavioural issues in dogs can often stem from other problems. Boredom, a lack of exercise or insufficient training can cause poor behaviour that is hard to manage.
- Investing both time and money in suitable training can bring a multitude of benefits, both for you and your dog as they grow in confidence and learn what is expected of them. On the other hand, walking is often free! Take the time to find out how much exercise your dog’s breed needs and commit to taking them out every day. We all want a happy and healthy dog and taking care of both your dog’s emotional and physical health will help you achieve this.”
- Is it dinner time yet? Feeding your new pup
- The amount of food your new puppy needs will vary depending on their weight and age. Puppies need more food as they grow, so you will need to monitor your dog’s weight as they get older. It is good practice to keep an eye on their weight as well as their body condition throughout their life to help prevent them from becoming overweight.
- The amount of food you give your puppy will also vary depending on the type of food they have. All of our dog food comes with instructions on the back of the packs to help make this easy to calculate. It’s absolutely vital that you monitor your puppy’s weight so that you can track exactly how much food they need. If you ever have concerns about your dog’s body condition or weight, then you should get in touch with your local vet.