Are pets good for your finances?

Over the past few years there have been numerous studies into the health benefits of

Dog sunny Day Afternoon

Dog sunny Day Afternoon (Photo credit: allert)

According to Dr James Griffin, a scientist at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the United States, having a canine companion or a feline friend provides us with a “source of comfort and developing empathy”.

Previous studies have suggested that owning a pet helps to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and fight depression.

But are pets good for you in a financial sense?

Well, it seems the answer is both yes and no.

Pets can be expensive. On top of providing them with food and the odd play item such a bone or squeaky toy, you also have to consider the cost of veterinary care and the use of health products from if something goes wrong

Vet bills have risen incredibly in recent years and the cost of something quite routine for Rover or Rusty could tip you off the edge of a financial cliff.

Major issues are even more on the pocket as well as the heart.

A study conducted by the RSPCA last year found that an emergency operation on dog can cost more than £4,000, while care for a cat injured in a car accident can weigh in around £1,500 without aftercare and future surgeries.

According to the study, 26 per cent of uninsured pet owners put off taking their pet to the vet because they fear the costs involved. This move could lead to the animal’s health problems worsening and it is likely to lead to further costs down the line or even a loss of the pet.

A solution to this problem is to take out an insurance policy. Yes that’s another expense, but it will provide with piece of mind and will more than pay for itself if god forbid something does happen to your furry friend.

An average pet policy will set you back somewhere the region of £100 a year, a sum which is less than most people spend buying newspapers.

Getting one set up is also quick and easy as it can be done either over the phone (or should be called the dog and bone in this case?) or via the internet.

Now, after reading about all these expenses which come with owning a pet, you’ll probably wondering where the financial benefits lay.

Well, they come in the form of things you possibly haven’t given much consideration to.

For example, owning a dog can often mean that you can get away with spending less on your home security. Dogs are very loyal and territorial animals and will defend their owner’s property with all their might.

This doesn’t mean you need to have a big and vicious dog either, as even the most soft and loving pooch can be enough to scare off anyone who might consider breaking into your property.

Indeed, studies have found that burglars stay away from homes where they can hear a dog barking.

Another financial benefit comes from the physical exercise pets can provide you with. Yes, you won’t get much exercise out of owning a gerbil or even a cat for that matter, but dogs are fantastic companions for people looking to get themselves in shape.

Each day your dog will need to be taken out for a walk and while this may seem a like a chore, it is also doing you some good. On top of that, if you can get your dog to enjoy a light run with you it could mean that you no longer need to pay for that expensive gym membership.