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Britain's Pets Costing us Billions

01 August 2016

UK - Animal lovers should pause for thought as £258.4 billion is spent in the UK by dog and cat owners alone.

Fans of furry friends are prepared to make considerable investment in pet ownership, though dog owners may hit the roof as the average lifetime cost of a dog is £15,382, while a feline companion will cost £10,395.

Around 40 per cent of UK households own a pet, over half of which are dog or cats.

New research undertaken by money-saving website also found a rabbit, which may be considered a cheaper pet, isn’t too far behind at over £7,000, and in fact costs over £40 more a year to feed. Year-on-year, it’s more expensive to feed a corn snake (£250) than a cat (£167).

Turtle power hits the wallet hard

The research, which looked at the UK’s 10 most popular pets, found that the biggest commitment in terms of time and money is the box turtle. These little guys may cost you an average £26,000 over their 50-year lifespan - 33 of which they could be asleep for.

A significant number do live for over 100 years, in which case you and future generations could be looking at an investment of over £52,000. Turtle enthusiasts will need to shell out for an indoor aquarium, sand, basking area and outdoor enclosure.

However, due to the length of time the turtle sticks around for, this is actually significantly better value than keeping a dog. The first year investment is almost double that of the turtle, and costs 1.65 times as much [165 per cent more] each year. In fact, if they had the same life expectancy of 50 years, the total cost of a dog would reach nearly £70,000 - that’s £40,000 more than the turtle.

Spend a Monkey, Get a Hamster

It probably comes as no surprise that a hamster is the lowest investment, however it may not be as cheap as you think with the average fur ball setting you back almost £500. This still may be the preferable option if you’re considering a hamster alongside a guinea pig, which is over four times more expensive.

Although the average lifespan of a goldfish is 7 years, the oldest ever goldfish lived for a record 43 years! So whilst it may appear a low investment as the cheapest to look after, both in terms of upfront and annual costs, it could cost you more than you think.

Shane Forster, UK Country Manager stated: “A large proportion of pet owners underestimate the lifetime investment associated with each animal, even for the cheaper pets highlighted in this research; who expects to pay £877 on a goldfish?

Whilst it is crucial that potential pet owners understand the cost of owning a pet, it’s even more important to understand the level of care the animal needs. 

Man's best spend: Cost of pets over a lifetime - An infographic by the team at For more information, visit

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