Pets can bring so much joy to everyone’s lives and can make a home feel complete. However, they do come at a cost. Therefore, like all financial decisions, they need to be carefully considered and planned for before they arrive. This post will tell you how to provide for your pets.
From food to vet bills and insurance, the expenses can soon add up and the cost is far greater than simply the cost of buying the pet. Having recently picked up my own puppy, I decided to document the key expenses and considerations and offer some advice on how best to prepare.
Budgeting to provide for your pets
Like all financial decisions, the key thing is your budget. If you create a budget, or add your pet into your existing budget, it should be relatively straightforward to provide for your pet’s needs and still meet your own personal and saving needs.
According to the PDSA, one of the UK’s leading animal charities, the average monthly cost of a dog is as follows:
- Small dog: £50
- Medium dog: £65
- Large dog: £80
More information on what to expect in terms of costs can be found on the PDSA website.
The basics of providing for your pets
Getting ready for the arrival of your pet comes with a substantial cost, but is crucial to do this to provide for your pets properly. From buying a bed, to a collar, identity tags (required by UK law from dogs), toys and much more. Making sure you have everything ready to make your pet feel comfortable is crucial, but you shouldn’t underestimate the cost.
The PDSA estimates the initial costs for dogs as follows:
- Small dog breeds: £370
- Medium dog breeds: £395
- Large dog breeds: £425
Another large outgoing is microchipping, which is required by law. This is not included in the above estimates. Some breeders will have the puppy microchipped prior to you collecting it. While this will save you time and a trip to the vets, it won’t necessarily save you any money, as they will probably add it to the price.
Food/ other regular costs
After the initial expenses, there are ongoing monthly costs. These include, but are not limited to, food, hygiene and cleaning equipment, and insurance – which I’ll cover in more detail later.
There are plenty of different food brands of varying costs, meaning it is possible to save some money here. However, the cheapest option won’t always be best and, just like humans, it’s important your pet gets all the nutrients they need to grow and stay healthy. It is worth talking to your vet to see what they would recommend.
As a minimum, pets need annual injections and check-ups. For reference, a starter course of puppy injections is usually around £100. In the UK we’re fortunate to have the NHS for our medical needs, but there is no equivalent for animals, so these come at a cost. Healthcare is expensive and the bills can rack up very quickly.
On top of these preventative treatments, if your pet gets ill or injured you will have to pay for this too.
One way to minimise your unexpected vet bills is to get insurance. This will make sure your pet is covered in the event of illness or injury.
I spent time searching the internet to compare pet insurance quotes. There are lots of pet insurance companies out there so it’s important to shop around and get a range of quotes.
However, you shouldn’t just opt for the cheapest quote. They all offer different levels of coverage and will only pay out a certain sum of money for treatment. As the bills can mount up quickly, you could still face a large bill if your pet is not adequately insured.
How to provide for your pets in the event of a relationship breakdown
We’ve now covered the general expenses, but there are also more complicated legal aspects to be considered.
It’s perfectly normal for a couple to get a pet together, in fact lots of couples do. While this is a really exciting and positive thing to do, it is worth considering what would happen if you were to break up or get divorced.
In English law, pets are treated as property rather than dependents. This means that custody arrangements, which are commonplace with children, cannot be ordered by a judge. Instead, if couples can’t agree on how their pet will be looked after, they could be ordered to give the pet up. This would obviously be very traumatic and upsetting for those involved, so should be avoided at all costs.
What can I do to prevent this?
In short, there is no legally binding action you can take to fully protect yourself in the event of this scenario.
Pre-nuptial agreements are currently not binding in English law. However, lawyers and judges will take them into consideration when determining settlements.Tweet
Pre-nuptial agreements are currently not binding in English law. However, lawyers and judges will take them into consideration when determining settlements. Therefore, it could be sensible to have a pre-nup detailing the arrangements for your pet if your relationship does breakdown. It may not be followed, but – if it is fair and neither party is unfairly disadvantaged – it is likely to at least be seriously considered.
Another option is to come to your own amicable arrangement – of course this is much easier if they breakup or divorce is conducted on friendly terms. When children are involved, it’s not unusual for the pet to follow the children. This also offers the children some continuity in what can be a very unsettling time.
Could a Will help me provide for my pets?
Again, this is a precautionary measure. While you’re not expecting anything bad to happen to you, it’s important to be prepared and make sure your pet will be well cared for in the event that something happens to you that means you can’t be your pet’s carer anymore. I speak more about the importance of Wills in this place.
There are two main questions you need to consider in your Will for your pet.
- Who will look after your pet?
Much like your money, or any other asset, your Will should state who you want to inherit your pet. It’s important to think carefully about this.
Is the person you want to look after your pet allowed to keep animals in their home? Do they work long hours, meaning your pet would be left alone for long periods of time? These, and many other questions, all need to be considered because they may be forced to give your pet up if it is not practical for them.
- How will they pay for all of the above expenses?
There are many different ways to bring up a pet and a lot of the expenses are technically optional. Will the person(s) you are entrusting your pet to be able to keep up with the money you have been spending on your pet or will they look to try and save some cash?
Can I leave money directly to my pet?
In short, no. There have been rumours of pets being left huge sums of money- like Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, who supposedly inherited a large chunk of his $300 million fortune.
But, as pets are viewed as property in the eyes of the law, they are prohibited from owning money or any other asset.
If you wanted to leave money to your pet, you could consider putting it into a trust. It would then need to be managed by a (or a group of) trustees, who could distribute money for the pet’s expenses as required. This can become a complex legal process, so if you’re considering this option, you should take professional advice. You wouldn’t want to spend time and money on this, only for it not to be properly executed.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please do leave a comment! Do you have pets? If so, how do provide for your pets?
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