Money Magazine

Owning A Pet Could Save You Money

How owning and caring for a pet can save you money

The British public are renowned worldwide for being a nation of pet lovers. Keeping a pet in your home can be one of the most pleasurable and rewarding things in your life. The cost of keeping your pet happy and healthy can run into thousands of pounds during its lifetime, depending on the size and its lifespan. But have you ever considered that by keeping a pet you could actually be saving yourself money?

In this article about how owning a pet could save you money we will be looking at:

  • How pets can keep us entertained
  • Ways that pets can make us more social
  • Gym membership costs that can be saved
  • How a pet can improve your health
  • How a pet can keep your home pest free
  • Pets to keep your property secure
  • How you can save money on pet care
  • Some different ways to have fun with your dog

Various ways that pets can enhance our lives

Pet owners in Britain may be surprised to learn that by owning a pet you could actually save yourself some money. Over seven million dogs are owned in the UK, taking over cats as the most popular British pet. In total there are an estimated fifty seven million pets residing in the UK, that means that over forty percent of households care for a pet of some description. When people adopt or buy pets, they realise that owning a pet will cost money in the form of food, general supplies and an amount of veterinary care, but what many people do not consider is the fact that caring for a pet can save you money too.

In total there are an estimated 57 million pets residing in the UK, which means that over forty percent of households care for a pet.

Let us take a look at how a pet can bring financial rewards

Think about how much laughter a pet can bring into your life. Pets can bring you hours of free entertainment by just playing with them at home or in a beautiful outside space like a park. You can save a lot of money trying to keep your children entertained during school holidays, when they want to be out visiting expensive attractions, by visiting dog friendly parks and nature trails. Not only would they be out in the fresh air exercising, but they can have hours of fun playing with a dog if you bring a few of its favourite toys along.

People who own pets tend to be more sociable

Pets can be terrific social instigators. It can be difficult to meet new people when you are living and working full time in the UK. Many people choose to meet new friends or find a companion through dating websites or going to pubs or cafe bars and spending a fortune on drinks. It’s amazing how many people will start up a conversation with you about your cute dog. By getting out more with your pet and interacting more freely with other people, you could start up a conversation with a prospective customer, a new employer or even a new lover!

People petting at the park petting a dog while getting the chance to socialise

Save money on a gym membership

Britons spend around 250 million pounds a year on exercise clothing and equipment that usually goes unused, according to research. It also found that the average gym membership costs 550 pounds and members confessed to attending on average 13.5 times in a year which equates to 40 pounds per session. Quite a lot of money! Walking is a great cardio vascular exercise and by having a dog to walk with you, you are signing up for a fifteen year, free exercise plan that you cannot get out of.

A pet can improve your health and save you money on buying medicine

Studies have shown that dog owners are less prone to heart disease. This is thought to be due to the fact that by walking your dog and taking regular exercise your blood pressure can be lowered. Pets can also have a calming effect on many people, a fact that also helps people to de-stress. People that suffer from anxiety and depression have reported feeling calmer and happier when they are around animals. Just by playing for 30 minutes a day with your pet can increase your brain’s levels of serotonin and dopamine which are your feel good neurotransmitters.

Children exposed to cats and dogs in their first year of life have been seen to have fewer allergies and a stronger immune system. Not all medicine is free in the UK and over the counter remedies for different types of ailments can be costly, along with prescription costs. A lot of money could be saved if we were all a bit healthier and fitter.

Small dogs usually live  longer than large breeds

Cats can provide free pest control

It is a well known fact that cats love to hunt and bring you their treasures. Unwanted home intruders are easy prey for a fast feline. Just the smell of a cat or dog in your home is enough to put off many unwelcome guests from entering in the first place. Money could be saved by not having to buy traps or poisons to get rid of rodents.

Dogs can deter home intruders and provide security

It is a well known fact that by owing a dog your chances of being burgled are lessened. A dog will always protect its home from strangers by barking as a warning to unknown visitors. If you are at home, a barking dog will wake you up and if you are vacant a barking dog from behind a closed door is a huge deterrent for intruders. This will allow you to save on cameras and other security products that are used to ward off burglars.

Here are the most popular UK pets according to a recent survey by the Pet Foods Manufactures Association:

Species Number (millions)
Dogs 7.3
Cats 7.2
Rabbits 1.4
Indoor birds 0.8
Hamsters 0.5
Horses and ponies 0.3
Snakes 0.2
Gerbils 0.14
Tortoise/turtles 0.12
Rats 0.1

So what have we learned so far?

  • Over 40% of British households take care of a pet
  • Pets can offer hours of free entertainment
  • Getting out and about with a pet could be a free way to network
  • Walking a dog could save you from paying for a gym membership
  • You could be healthier if you owned a pet and save on medicines
  • Animals can scare away domestic pests
  • A dog’s bark can protect your home from burglars
  • Dogs are the most popular pets in the UK

There are plenty of ways to save money when caring for a pet

One of the biggest expenses when you own a pet is its food. If you check the labels on supermarket’s own branded food with the expensive types, you will notice that there is not much difference in the ingredients, but the price will be considerably lower. If you cannot bear the thought of compromising on your pet’s beloved brand, then you could shop on line for branded foods at lower costs and take advantage of special offers and bulk buy, as pet foods usually have quite a long shelf life.

It is worth shopping around for pet insurance in order to save some money

Insurance premiums for pets can be very expensive so it is defiantly worth shopping around for the best deal. You can try smaller, local insures too who can have some great offers. You may also want to consider self insuring your pet as long as you have enough discipline to put the money away every month. Many insurers premiums rise every year as the age of your pet increases and will not cover certain illnesses in older animals.

Cats can jump up to seven times the length of their tail

Do not use kennels or catteries when you are travelling

Putting your pet in a kennel or a cattery can work out very expensive, especially if you have more than one pet. Instead, ask friends or relatives if they would consider minding your pet for you. They would be more obliging if you could also return the favour by taking care of theirs when they are away.

There are a number of internet sites that allow animal lovers to borrow your pet. It sounds crazy, but it is true. Some animal lovers want to experience the joys of owning a pet but are unable to do so on a full time basis, so they are quite happy to take care of yours for a limited amount of time. One such site is BorrowMyDoggy.com.

Buy expensive medicines on-line

Veterinary practices make a lot of their profits by selling medicine and other pet supplies. When you visit your vet you are entitled to ask for their prescription and most medicines can be bought on- line. This also applies to many of the expensive accessories that they also sell.

Make your own toys and treats to save some cash

Animals love to have new toys to play with as they can become bored easily. They can be quite happy with home made adaptions of popular toys that can be made quite easily by yourself in your free time. You can also limit the amount of toys that they have by rotating them so that your pet will not become bored of them. There are brilliant, easy to make toys on websites that you can make using household items that will cost you nothing. Cooked treats can also be manufactured at home as the bought kind can work out very expensive.

A kitten playing with a home made toy, which can saved money for its owner

Think about adopting a pet if you find that buying one is too expensive

If your heart is set on a certain expensive breed of pet, then you should consider contacting an animal sanctuary to check if they have the type of pet that you are interested in. Hundreds of animal charities and pet sanctuaries struggle on a daily basis to care for all the unwanted pets in this country and are looking for loving homes for their charges. If you think that owning a cat or dog may be too expensive for you then you may want to consider buying a smaller animal like a hamster or a rabbit that is much cheaper to look after.

Hundreds of animal charities and pet sanctuaries struggle on a daily basis to care for all the unwanted pets in this country and are looking for loving homes for their charges.

Here are five ways that you can get fitter and have some fun with your dog:

  1. Doga – is a new kind of yoga with dogs
  2. Agility training – obstacle course training with your dog
  3. Biking – with your dog running beside you
  4. Hiking – your dog will love a long walk in the country
  5. Jogging – take your dog for a run with you

Let us look at some of the ways that owning a pet can enhance your life

Dogs are natural mental and emotional healers. Many people can bond far easier with a pet than they can with humans. Numerous studies have shown that cuddling a cat or a dog releases the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin in humans and pets. This chemical can create a calming effect and helps to form a strong bond between the pet and its owner.

An elderly man with pets who are his companions and source of comfort

Dogs do not find fault, nor are they judgemental. A dog’s ability to communicate and interact with people can break down emotional barriers that people with depression often suffer from. Animals are regularly used by hospitals and nursing homes in the form of animal therapy to help autistic children and elderly patients interact and feel more confident and happy.

Pets can be great companions

For elderly people living alone, a pet can be a perfect companion. They are a source of comfort and for many people a reason to go on living. Children who own a pet will get outside more when they play with their pets and enjoy all the relevant health benefits of a more active lifestyle. Pets can help less sociable children to be more interactive, as a pet is a fantastic ice breaker. Reading skills in early readers are said to be improved by children who read aloud to their pets, as opposed to an adult. It is thought that a pets ability to lower stress levels and their non judgemental, calming presence can help new readers become more confident. Pets can also help children realise the importance of being responsible when they are encouraged to help taking care of a pet.

Owning a pet will not only save you money but it will bring you love

There are many ways in which owning a pet can save you money, but the real benefit of pet ownership will always be in the form of the unconditional love that they show us on a daily basis. That barking and scrambling of little feet, or loud mewing when you return home can brighten up anyone’s day when you feel the love that your pet will lavish on you. Owning a pet can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences, whatever kind you choose to own. Just remember that it is a commitment that should not be taken lightly.

About the author

Faith Hastings

Faith is a proud mother of three and runs a busy home. She has a lot of experience in housefold finance and loves to write articles for familymoney.co.uk

Faith enjoys shopping, travelling and spending time with her family.

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