Do you find yourself loitering near dog parks, looking on enviously as canines cavort in the grass? Do you have an inexplicable basket of yarn in your living room, even though you’ve got no idea how to knit? Do you long to hear the pitter-patter of tiny paws scampering down the hallway and into your heart? Well, you might just be emotionally ready for a pet. But before you stop reading and rush out to the nearest animal shelter, there’s a whole other, less glamorous side of pet ownership that we need to talk about – and we don’t just mean changing stinky kitty litter. Like all good things in life, pet ownership comes with a price. Before you know it, Fido can end up costing you serious fi-dough.
If you want to welcome a new baby into your life and become a pet parent, here are some of the common expenses you’ll need to budget for to make sure there’s enough cash left over for Rover (or enough moolah for Moggy).
Purebred pup or pound pal?
The first cost you’ll need to consider depends on where you’re going to get your new best friend from. According to the Australian Government’s Moneysmart initiative, purebred animals from reputable breeders can range from around $500 to thousands of dollars.
Adopting a pet from a shelter normally costs less (and is a huge act of kindness!), but you’ll likely have to pay an admin fee. This will vary from shelter to shelter, but as a general rule you can expect to pay more for a kitten or puppy than an older cat or dog. Some organisations – like the RSPCA – will waive fees for senior animals, who are less likely to be adopted.
If you’re buying from a breeder, remember to factor in money for vaccinations, de-sexing, microchipping and parasite-prevention meds (Moneysmart suggests that $1,000 is a good guide). Most shelter animals will have already undergone these procedures before you meet them but its good to check first.
Ready, pet, go
You might need to splash some cash getting your house prepped for a new arrival. There are one-off costs for things like beds, collars, leads and bowls – as well as more expensive items like kennels for dogs and carriers for cats. Oh, and speaking of cats, it’s worth budgeting for a decent scratching post – especially if you don’t want to have to shell out on reupholstering all your furniture in the future (looking at you, Felix).
You’ll probably want to spend time playing with your pet as well (goes without saying!), so stash extra cash for toys and treats to keep them occupied and happy.
If your four-legged friend is a new puppy (or even a more mature pooch), it might be wise to invest in some socialising and training classes. If you want to enrol in puppy school, you can choose between group classes (which are generally more budget-friendly) or enlist a trainer for private sessions (usually a more expensive option).
That’s most of the once-off costs covered (phewf), but what about recurring ones? Moneysmart reckons premium pet food costs up to $800 per year, but this figure could be higher if your pet needs to follow a special diet. Cats and dogs also need to be regularly treated on prevention for nasties like fleas, ticks and worms. Prices for preventative treatments will vary depending on the type and size of your animal and whether they’re an indoor or outdoor pet.
Many Australian councils require you by law to either register or microchip (or both!) your cats and dogs. This requirement – and its cost – changes from location to location, so check out the law in your area (the RSPCA has a handy state-by-state breakdown) or get in touch with your local council. Moneysmart puts annual registration alone between $30 and $190.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you’ll also need to budget for your buddy to stay in a kennel or cattery when you’ve used up all your favours with friends. Again, prices vary depending on season, length of stay and location.
The information is current as at publication.
ING Pet Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL 285571 (AGIC) as insurer (Insurer). It is administered by Pet Health Insurance Services Pty Ltd ABN 59 638 910 675 as authorised representative 1282153 of AGIC. It is distributed by AGIC and by ING Bank (Australia) Ltd ABN 24 000 893 292 as Authorised Representative 1247634 of AGIC. ING is a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Ltd (IBAL). An ING Insurance policy issued does not represent a deposit with or liability of, and is not guaranteed or otherwise supported by, ING or its related bodies corporate. ING will receive a commission from AGIC for each policy purchased which is a percentage of the base premium. For further details see the Financial Services Guide.
ING Pet Insurance is subject to AGIC’s underwriting criteria and ING’s Customer Eligibility and Name-Screening Assessment.
Pet Insurance is not available for dogs and cats 8 weeks old and under or 9 years old and over at the time of application.
This is general information only, and does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you having regard to these factors before acting on it. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Target Market Determination, Financial Services Guide and the ING Customer Eligibility and Name-Screening document available at ing.com.au and consider if an ING Pet Insurance product is right for you before deciding to purchase or continue to hold the product.
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