New research shows that half of pet owners underestimate the cost of keeping a pet

A new survey has revealed the staggering cost of owning a pet, whether you are a dog owner or a cat owner.

The study found that Bulldogs are the most expensive dog breed to own. (Pic credit: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
The study found that Bulldogs are the most expensive dog breed to own. (Pic credit: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

The pandemic has brought about a myriad of challenges across many industries, in particular, it has affected shelters due to an increase of the number of people buying pets during lockdown.

The owners’ lack of knowledge about the cost of keeping a pet has meant that many of these pets were returned after lockdown to shelters.

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Key findings from this research conducted by Forbes Advisor, found that it costs just less than £1,400 a year on average to own a pet in 2021, or £16,080 for a dog and £17,420 for a cat over their lifetime.

It also showed that 53 per cent of British pet owners admit that they underestimate the cost of owning a pet and despite vet bills being one of the most pricey parts of pet ownership, 44 per cent of Brits also admit to not having pet insurance.

The study also showed that 52 per cent of pet owners would resort to credit cards or raiding their savings to fund veterinary care and half of owners pay £500 to £1,000 a year for medical bills out of their own pockets.

The internal insurance data also revealed that the most expensive dogs and cats to own are Bulldogs, which would cost £688.14 a year on insurance, and Burmese Blues, which would cost £337.14.

The report also disclosed how much on average pet owners spend on typical pet expenses in a year as of 2021:

Medical bills excluding monthly insurance or petcare plans cost £462.80

Food costs £341.67

Flea or worm treatment costs £164.72

Apparel costs £41.55

Training/sitting/walking costs £115.78

Insurance costs £112.05

Dental treatments cost £39.62

Vet checkups cost £71.77

The average price of specialist treatment like orthopaedic surgery was roughly £1,037.80, using price data from the Animal Trust.

These are the most expensive dog and cat breeds to insure, according to a Forbes Advisor’s pet insurance provider:


Bulldog - £688.14

Cane Corso - £669.29

Hovawart - £633.94

Great Swiss Mountain Dog - £588.22

Dogue De Bordeaux - £572.92


Burmese Blue - £337.14

Somali - £336.95

Tabby Longhair - £309.24

Egyptian Mau - £285.49

Russian Blue - £285.43

Insurance expert at Forbes Advisor, Kevin Pratt, said: “Owning a pet is not something to be taken lightly. As well as the expense, there are practical matters to consider. Dogs need regular exercise in all weathers - something that will be hitting home with new owners as we head into winter.

“And all pets need proper care and attention on a daily basis, so what does that mean for family trips away from home? It seems clear that many people bought a pandemic pet without fully thinking through the implications, and some have realised they can no longer keep it, either because of the hassle factor or because of how much it costs.

“One thing that any pet owner will tell you is that a trip to the vet - probably inevitable at some point - can be extremely expensive. This makes pet insurance such an important purchase.

“Having cover in place means animal lovers don’t have to worry about paying for the care their pet might need, and they won’t need to raid their savings or even go overdrawn to pay the vet’s bill.

“We’re clearly a nation of animal lovers, even if we sometimes let our hearts rule our heads when it comes to bringing a pet into the family home. That’s why spending a bit of time to find the right pet insurance is such a good idea.”