The number of pets, particularly cats and dogs, being abandoned is continuing to rise according to the RSPCA, which recently announced that abandonment is up a staggering 23% compared to last year’s figures.
It’s not only that owners underestimate how much time and energy it takes to look after a pet, but just how financially draining a pet can be. Healthcare costs for pets have been steadily rising for several years, partly due to the increasing sophistication of available veterinary treatments.
Where once a broken leg or other serious injury might have meant euthanasia for a family pet, these days an operation that will enable a full recovery might end up costing hundreds of pounds in vet bills.
The lifetime costs of owning a pet can range in the thousands. According to figures by Sainsbury’s pet insurance, the average dog owner pays just over £500 annually for food, veterinary bills, and other expenses. Pet care costs haven’t stopped increasing though, Sainsbury’s estimate that in just twelve years time, the annual cost could be as high as £921.
Are we Killing our Pets with Kindness?
Another issue that has led to increasing petcare costs is the way we’re feeding our pets. Many of us are, unfortunately, killing our cats and dogs with kindness by giving them unhealthy food that’s not designed for animals.
Pet foods are nutritionally balanced especially for pets, which have very different dietary needs from our own. Giving our pet’s constant treats or table scraps can cause rapid weight gain, and like humans, animals can develop serious chronic health conditions if they’re allowed to become obese. Somewhere between one third and one half of all Britain’s cats and dogs are overweight, and it’s estimated that there are more than five million obese pets nationally.
As a result, pets are developing diseases such as diabetes and osteoarthritis as well as chronic circulatory and respiratory problems that are not only making them unhealthy and reducing their lifespan, but also mean their owners must pay more for veterinary treatment.
We consider our pet’s part of the family, but sadly, many of us just aren’t taking the best care of their health. Before you give your pet the table scraps they seem to be begging for, consider whether you’re helping or hurting them.
A Place for Insurance
Whilst insurance is an additional expense that many owners can ill afford, an increasingly competitive market has resulted in greater choice and cheaper premiums for many. But as the recent figures show, the alternative to prudent planning could be the loss of your pet if an unexpected illness or injury requires urgent and ongoing treatment.
If owners make the commitment to buy a good policy when they take on a new pet, they’ll potentially save thousands of pounds over its lifetime and have the means to ensure any health problems are diagnosed and treated early
PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular pet insurance product or provider. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at www.unbiased.co.uk
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