With the cost of living rising across the board, many people will be taking stock and reviewing their budgets. If you have a pet, or are thinking of getting one, there are various costs you’ll need to take into consideration to help you decide if now is the right time.

Check how much it will cost you to own a pet - from dogs to fish.

How much does it cost to own a dog?

It’s likely to come as no surprise that dogs are the UK’s most popular pet. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), 62% of UK households own a pet – and dogs account for 34%[1].

But how much will a lifetime of a new furry member of the household cost?

According to pet charity PDSA, owning a dog could cost you from £4,600 to £30,800 over whole lifetime[2]. The cost depends on whether you opt for a small breed, which is cheaper to care for, or a large breed, which would be more expensive.

The initial cost includes the items you need to set the dog up in its new home. This includes things like a collar, lead, bed, toys and the initial course of vaccinations and neutering.

And then monthly costs include items like food, vaccinations and pet insurance. A small breed would typically cost £50 a month, rising to £80 for a large dog.

Please note that these costs don't include the price if your dog becomes ill. To cover yourself for this, you’ll need to consider taking out a pet insurance policy. While insurance tends not to cover routine trips to the vet for things like worming and essential vaccinations, it’ll give you peace of mind in case anything goes wrong. Visit our website to find out about Ageas pet insurance.

The costs shown above also don't include any boarding, dog-sitting or doggy daycare that you might need. Although it varies from breed to breed – and depending on the particular pup – dogs need a lot of work and attention. Getting care arranged for your dog can stack up, especially if they need a lot of attention, or get separation anxiety. So be sure to factor this in when doing your sums.

Thinking of getting a pup? Here are seven questions to ask yourself before getting a dog.

How much does it cost to own a cat?

Our feline friends are the second most popular pet in the UK. But while they’re sometimes considered to be a low-maintenance companion, they do still need a good amount of care. And this often has a price-tag attached.

According to the PDSA, not including the initial cost of buying a cat, it will cost most owners at least £12,000 to care for their cat over their whole lifetime. But that cost could end up doubling.

Your initial outlay includes buying a bed, food and water bowls, toys, two litter trays, a brush and a scratching post. It also includes a few trips to the vet for microchipping, vaccinations and neutering. Plus, you’ll need a carrier to take it there.

Monthly costs – which are likely to be around £70 – include complete cat food, such as dry food (otherwise known as kibbles), and wet food if they have it. Make sure you don’t underestimate the amount of litter you’ll get through as well – especially if they’re an indoor cat.

As with dogs, these costs don’t include additional vet trips if they become ill. The costs also don’t include any boarding, or hiring someone to visit and feed them if you go away for a period of time. It’s also well worth considering taking out pet insurance if you get a cat. Visit our website to find out about Ageas pet insurance.

How much does it cost to own a rabbit?

Keeping rabbits may not be as cheap as you might think. For starters, bunnies are social animals, and should at least be kept in pairs – if not small groups. And the more you have, the more the costs multiply. Like rabbits.

According to the PDSA, you should expect a pair of rabbits to cost at least £6,500 - £9,000 over their lifetimes.

While they may not live as long as cats, the monthly cost of keeping rabbits is roughly the same, at around £70 for a pair, and you’re likely to spend more setting them up. This is because they’ll need a waterproof home and exercise run. They’ll also need a food bowl and water bottle, toys, and grooming gear. There’ll be a few trips to the vet too for vaccinations and neutering, and they’ll need a pet carrier.

How much does it cost to own a hamster?

At the other end of the scale, hamsters are among the cheapest pets to own. They can be bought quite cheaply, and the most expensive thing you’ll have to buy is a cage and wheel. You can easily get both a hamster and good-quality cage for £50-60. Bags of bedding and food cost about £5 each, and can last for months. This makes it one for the most budget friendly pets to invest in.

According to Smarter Finances, keeping a hamster should cost month on average[3]. However, bear in mind that the life expectancy for a hamster is fairly short, at around two years.

How much does it cost to own a fish?

Goldfish are the most popular fish to own in the UK, and their lifetime cost is likely to be more than that of a hamster – mainly because they have a longer life expectancy, of between 10 and 15 years. With proper care, they can even live to over 30 years.

The biggest cost of owning a goldfish is the price of setting them up. While you can spend as much as you want on a flashy tank, getting one with gravel and LEDs which can house two fish should cost about £50. Then there are ornaments such as shipwrecks to consider.

Keeping your tank clean is the biggest ongoing cost. A bottle of conditioner costs between £15 and £20, but how long it lasts depends on the size of the tank. Fish food lasts for ages, and you might spend £5 on enough food for a whole year.

For tips and guides on caring for your pet, go to Solved


[1] https://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-population-2022

[2] https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/the-cost-of-owning-a-dog

[3] https://smarterfinances.co.uk/pets/how-much-hamster-cost-month/