How do pet owners manage with pandemic pets as expenditures rise?
During Covid lockdowns, many people purchased pets for the first time. We talk to a few people on how they handle their finances.
Are you concerned about the cost of your veterinarian's services? A charity may be able to assist you.
Cookie, a cockapoo puppy, is having fun on the beach by leaping over a sea wall.
Although dog ownership might be pricey, the benefits in terms of affection and comfort far outweigh the costs.
The United Kingdom has traditionally been a pet-loving nation. However, it is estimated that more than 3.2 million families in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. During the lockdown, demand for puppies in particular grew to an all-time high, with some canines fetching as much as £10,000, more than five times their regular price. Kitten prices have also increased by as much as 40%.
Many new pet owners have had difficulty adjusting to their new living quarters. The number of abandoned pets has increased by 20%, according to animal rescue organizations, while demand for pet behavior counsellors has doubled.
Rabbits have shown to be the most common cause of lockdown pet regret, with two-fifths of owners (42 percent) regretting their purchase during the pandemic.
Taking on a pet is a tremendous responsibility at any time, and people should think about whether they have the time and resources to adequately care for that animal for the rest of their lives, says RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines.
We're seeing an upsurge in the number of animals abandoned and surrendered across the industry. We are concerned that this will deteriorate as people return to work or struggle with rising living costs.
We feel that a lack of study before getting a pet and a misunderstanding about the cost of pet ownership are two of the most common reasons people fail to properly care for their pets or end up abandoning them.
According to a study of RSPCA frontline rescuers, the most common reason for pet neglect is the cost of care, which includes vet and grooming costs.
Pets may require behavior guidance and instruction in addition to food, veterinary care, insurance, toys, and specialized equipment.
We talked to folks who purchased a pet during the epidemic to see how the benefits of ownership compare to the expenditures.
Nicole, 46, works as an assistant manager for Hatfield's elder care services. Garry, her husband, was unexpectedly taken ill with a possible heart attack in July 2020. I wasn't allowed to accompany him in the ambulance or visit him in the hospital because of Covid. Our kids were in bed, and I told them in the morning that daddy was sick, but he'd be fine soon, she says.
This was not the case, and I received the dreaded phone call two days later informing me that he had died and that there was nothing they could do."
Nicole had to inform their three children, who were nine, ten, and sixteen years old at the time. "Our entire world came crashing down," she adds.
She was overcome with grief and loneliness while watching TV alone one evening. Not only in her life, but also at the center of her home, there was a large gaping hole. She explains, I felt like we were a little empty. I realized something was missing — something to love, cuddle, and give us a purpose in life.
The following weekend, she surprised her children with Darcie, a maltipoo puppy. Prices for these canines skyrocketed during lockdown, and she was forced to pay £3,000 for them. I haven't informed some of my relatives how much she cost me. I'm too embarrassed to say anything. But I had some money left over from Garry, and I thought to myself, I know what I'm going to do with that. I'm going to go out and buy something that will make us happy once more, she says.
Words cannot express the love and comfort that the dog has offered to her mourning children – "and, most importantly, to me."
Darcie costs roughly £107 per month to feed and care for, and Nicole thinks she's worth every penny. It's almost as though she was aware of why she was there. It may sound ridiculous, but she truly did heal us.
The dog appears to be aware of when the children, particularly Nicole, require love and affection. "She became a rock for me, a source of strength."
Documents on the desktop, pet insurance concept
Nicole pays £17 per month for insurance and another £17 per month for her veterinarian's healthcare plan.
Because Maltipoos have little to no fur, Nicole pays a groomer £25 every six to seven weeks to keep the dog from becoming matted and nasty. With a breed like hers, you have to. I also brush her on a daily basis.
Nicole also pays £17 a month for insurance and another £17 a month for a healthcare plan offered by her veterinarian to avoid being confronted with hefty unexpected expenditures. "All of the flea and worming treatments, as well as annual immunization boosters, may add up quickly." When you pay monthly, though, it's all done and dusted. You don't have to be concerned."
Nicole saves money by buying Darcie's food in bulk online rather than at the supermarket, after discovering that the only brand she likes (Lily's Kitchen) is cheaper that way.
Although it is inexpensive, she occasionally wonders what Garry would say if he realized she had spent £3,000 on a puppy. She knew how much Darcie would cost each month because she had previously had one. I knew it was a price I could afford, she says.
And for her, the benefits of having a dog much outweigh the costs. I can't begin to express how much joy and love she has brought into our life.
Nicole is a member of the Widowed and Young Widows and Young Widowed and Young Widowed and Young Widowed and Young Widowed and Young
Alicia, 52, lives in Westcliff-on-Sea and works as a ghostwriter. She observed a little female cat hanging around her house as the UK went into lockdown in March 2020. "She dashed in my front door and continued to visit me — she didn't want to go after a few visits," she adds. "I'd open the door to give her the chance... but she'd refuse."
The cat had been neutered but had not been microchipped. As word spread that cats may have the virus (though there's no evidence they can pass it on to humans), Alicia wondered if the cat, who appeared to be around four months old, had been euthanized as a result.
She worked with Pet Search South East, a local organization for lost and recovered pets, put up flyers in the area, and asked neighbors for help, but no one claimed her. "I did it in August," she says.
Mademoiselle Chai was her name, a combination of her favorite drink and the Hebrew word for life, Truly believe we saved each other since I am a single woman living alone in the UK with no family, she says. "During the lockdowns, I basically had no human contact, but I did have a cat to snuggle.
Mademoiselle Chai was free, but she had to pay around £350 to have her vaccinated, chipped, and checked by the vet.It was a difficult financial situation, but I thought, This is a great investment, she adds. I knew I'd be able to come up with a method to pay for her.
She pays £12 a month for flea and worming treatments and annual vaccinations through the Healthy Pet Club plan, which also includes a 10% discount on vet bills and services, and £15 a month for cat food (tins of Butcher's), which she buys in bulk from Ocado to save money.
She opted to get "very fantastic insurance," spending £156 a year for a policy through the PDSA, a veterinary charity. Each policy purchased helps the charity treat animals whose owners are experiencing financial trouble.
So, even though she had not filed a claim, she was fine with her insurance going up by £14 to £170 at renewal. If that happens on a regular basis, I'll look for another insurer," she says. However, I enjoy the sensation of supporting a charity, and I believe they are more likely to honor claims.
Spending £45 on scratching posts, which Mademoiselle Chai refuses to use, was the worst waste of money.
One of her favourite purchases was a £31 Morpilot backpack that she can use to carry the cat when she goes for a stroll."Because I don't have a car, I can also use it to take her to the vet, she adds.
A £5 fishing rod is one of the cat's favorite toys, but she also enjoys chasing ribbons and string around the house. Spending £45 on scratching posts, which the cat refuses to use, was the biggest waste of money.
Paying for a cat sitter to cover trips away has been the most expensive expense.
Alicia recently used the website Cat in a Flat to find a newly graduated veterinary nurse and paid her £250 to stay in her home for a week while she was on a work trip. She explains, That gave me peace of mind.
Despite these expenses, Alicia believes that obtaining a second pet - or, as she puts it, a "new best companion" – was a wise financial option. "She makes me laugh and kept my spirits up during the pandemic, says the author. She was a pleasant surprise in my life. I believe she was sent to me by an angel.
Sophie, 50, works for a technology company in Cambridge. In March 2021, during the third lockdown, she decided to buy her three children a pair of bunnies because they had been yearning for a pet and her eldest daughter, Alice, 13, had done extensive research on how to get one.
It would be too much for me to spend even £2 a week on them, Sophie explains. However, I was aware of this before to their arrival. It was solely for the benefit of children.
She chose rabbits because she believed the children would be capable of caring for them on their own and that it would be beneficial for them to learn to do so.
Alice is in charge of feeding the bunnies, ordering their food, cleaning their litter pans, and generally caring for them.
Lettuce and Radish were a big comfort to her when she was sick with Covid last year and had to be separated from her parents. When mum and dad were at work, I could play with them," she explains.
She enjoys how delighted they are to see her in the mornings and jump on her lap to be caressed. I believe that having a pet is quite gratifying.
Sophie does not see the need to insure the rabbits against theft because they are kept indoors, and she intends to cover any vet fees that occur.
Their hutch, which cost £185, was the most expensive item.
Their hutch, which cost £185, was the most expensive item. Prices for double rabbit hutches began at £90 on the internet, but she chose to spend more money to get the most out of the space she had. She chose one from rabbit-hutches.co.uk that would fit in her kitchen well.
It's fairly large, and we didn't want it to seem too nasty because we keep them inside, Sophie explains.
She was also startled to learn that hiring an expert sitter to feed the rabbits and replace their litter tray (rabbits generally defecate up to 200 to 300 pellets per day) when the family goes on vacation costs £11 per day in Cambridge.
Although the family spends £5 a month on rabbit chew toys, they strive to save money by providing them cardboard and homemade toys that are safe to chew on.
Sophie dislikes the bunnies in general – mainly because of the hay that is everywhere in the house, and the animal smell – but she enjoys seeing how much her children love them and does not mind the monthly costs.
When you decide to adopt a pet, you know they're going to be outrageous. Whether it's worthwhile or not is entirely dependent on how much you care about the animal.