Often, the choice of whether to bring a pet into a home or not can be tricky one.
On the one hand you have a cute animal, with all the companionship benefits they bring, as well as pressure from children to invest in an adorable dog or cat.
However, it’s also important to stay mature about things and seriously weigh up whether you can afford to have a pet in and around the home, regardless of the level of debt you find yourself in.
As nice as it is to have a cat or dog around the house, they also cost a lot of money over the course of their lifetime, especially those animals that live for longer or are of a more complex nature.
There are plenty of areas of pet ownership which cost money and you need to think carefully about whether or not you can afford to before you go rushing in.
This not only makes good sense for the owner, so you don’t buy things you don’t need only to give the animal back, it is also much better for the pet as well.
It can be very damaging for an animal to be taken into a new home only to be moved on for whatever reason so, for the sake of both parties, ensure you are in a position to care for any pet you take in.
The primary cost that pet owners need to meet is food. Nutrition and health are obviously very important for animals so be well aware that this will make a fairly hefty dent in your monthly budget.
Some animals will require more food than others and there are also different brands with different prices, so there will be a variation in how much you need to spend.
The only universal aspect is that food is a necessity for whatever pet you opt for and this needs to be accounted for within your household budget.
Nick Honour, canine behaviour specialist with The Behaviour Company, says: “Feed a good quality balanced food, make the effort to read the ingredients and be aware of what your dog is eating.
“Carry out regular grooming – your dog will love it and it also gives you chance to examine your dog on a regular basis. Visit your vet for regular health checks and keep inoculations and preventative medications up to date.”
Another potential expense you may have to encounter is vet bills.
Hopefully you and your pet won’t require the services of the vet too often and it can stay injury free and healthy but most animals will need, at some point, to take a visit.
This is usually for injections and immunisations, although these can still be fairly expensive, but they can be for major injuries and surgery.
All in all, as an owner you have a responsibility to ensure that your pet is cared for and looked after by qualified professionals and this costs money so be sure that you can fully afford it first.
Having a good-quality insurance package is one of the best ways to ensure that you can afford to pay for any veterinary requirements that your animal may need.
When scouring for this ideal package, make sure that you are getting the cheapest possible price as well as getting a deal which sees you covered for everything you require.
Otherwise, you could face a hefty bill which isn’t ideal for anyone working through an individual voluntary arrangement.
It’s also worth being aware of the potential damage that a youthful and excitable pet can do to the inside of a home.
Dogs and cats can, all too easily, knock over that priceless heirloom or career into the television so ensure your contents insurance is up to scratch just in case.
Pete Wedderburn, a TV vet and columnist in the Daily Telegraph, believes it’s something to bear in mind, although he said most homes won’t require too many changes.
“Most households are safe enough for pets without changing much,” he said.
“Animals that are likely to chew – for example puppies, or especially pet rabbits – need extra care to make sure that electric cables etc are not within reach. Also there are some toxic household items (such as cut lilies) that should be kept away from pets, especially cats.”
Can you afford to have a pet?
Stef has worked through a debt solution plan with the help of Debt Free Direct, she now writes articles on money saving tips and advice to help people avoid getting into debt; or save money to pay off their existing debt.
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