Pets costing the UK billions

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The UK is truly a nation of animal lovers if recent statistics are to be believed - with dogs costing on average £15,382 to keep.

Cats are similarly expensive with our feline friends running up a bill of over £10,000, according to a survey by Voucherbox.co.uk.

With around 40 per cent of UK households owning a pet - over half are dogs or cats - this leads to a total of £258.4 billion spent on animals over their lifetime.

Animals regarded as cheaper to keep also show up to be quite expensive in the long term - rabbits aren’t too far behind in the money table at £7,000.

The research looked at the UK’s 10 most popular pets, and the biggest outlay in terms of time and money goes on the box turtle. Living for as long as 50 years, that adds up to an average of £26,000. A more churlish owner might point out that they spend as much as 33 years of their life asleep. And it’s not unknown for them to last over 100 years, in which case you and future generations could be looking at an investment of over £52,000.

The humble hamster is the cheapest pet, running in a lifetime bill of under £500, and it’s worth noting that this is a quarter the running costs of a guinea pig. A goldfish, however, will live for an average of seven years, with a record age of 43 making them a possible lifetime commitment.

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.