What is the true cost of owning a dog? For most people, money is no object when it comes to man’s best friend, and many consider their pooch to be a member of the family rather than just a pet.
The UK loves their pets; during the last recession the UK pet food market grew to an impressive £1.5 billion. We also can’t help spoiling our pets, with the dog treat market amassing to an astonishing £189 million. Just like their human owners, pets are beginning to suffer from the same health problems due to obesity.
This may be one of the reasons that pet insurance claims rose in 2015 to a staggering 911,000 cases, an increase of 9% from the previous year. Of those claims, 686,000 were for dogs, an increase of 11% from 2014.
It’s hard to believe that 9 million dogs owners in the UK have not taken out cover for pet insurance.
Insuring your pet
Taking out insurance for your pet is a must, especially for dogs because of their high costs of vet bills. Rather than finding annual cover it is always best to take out life-long insurance for your pet. With annual pet insurance, treatments required for your pet one year may very well be excluded in the next years cover.
Of course the premium you would have to pay on pet insurance for your dog varies a lot depending on the breed. Here are the 5 most expensive breeds to insure:
As the name suggests, they originate from Newfoundland, Canada. A large dog with a thick coat of fur, it’s no wonder that many used to believe they descended from the indigenous black bear!
4. English Bulldog
A British icon and the smallest dog on this list. The English or British Bulldog is also the most expensive to buy on this list due their very small litters and high demand as mascots.
3. Bull Mastiff
A mix between a Mastiff and Bulldog, they make excellent guard dogs due to their protective nature. Insurance for this breed is costly because of hereditary health problems like dysplasia.
2. Great Dane
As a general rule the larger the dog, the more expensive it is to insure; and the Great Dane is by no means an exception. Standing on its hind legs, Great Danes can reach 7ft in height!
1. Dogue de Bordeaux
Otherwise known as the French Mastiff, these dogs are the most expensive to insure out of any breed due to their size and hereditary health problems. Originally used as guard dogs, they are large dogs that outweigh even Great Danes!
Owning a dog on the cheap
Owning a dog doesn’t always have to be expensive, but a lot of thought should be put in before deciding if you have the time and the finances to look after one. Deciding on a rescue dog has the benefit of saving a dog that could be put down and saves on the initial cost of purchase. Also mongrels tend to have less health problems than pure breeds, saving on vet bills if you don’t have insurance. It should be noted though, that the purchase cost is only going to be minuscule compared to the ongoing cost of ownership.
Another detail that needs to be taken into account is the size of the dog. Owning a small dog is far cheaper than owning a larger breed as they require far less feeding and insurance is less. The difference in cost can be substantial over the long term, so it is important to understand what you can afford. Savings can also be made if you bulk-buy your dogs food, but remember to check that your dog approves of it first or it could be money down the drain.
Health problems are difficult to eliminate entirely so insurance is always crucial, especially lifetime cover – shop around to find the best deal. There are ways to keep your dog healthy though. Firstly, exercise them regularly, but don’t over-do it! Different breeds have different amounts of energy so knowing your animal and what they need is important. Also remember to give your dog dental chews and up to date vaccinations.
A final piece of advice is to be a good owner. Dogs take on the characteristics of their owner, so if you are lazy, the dog will be too. A well trained dog will never cost you an arm or a leg if it knows it shouldn’t chew up your furniture.