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If you’re thinking of adopting a furry friend to add to the family, it might be worth taking a moment to stop and do the maths to make sure you can really afford to give it the life it deserves on the budget you have.

This can tug on your heartstrings, but with a dog costing its owner an average of £21,000 over its lifetime, and a cat costing £17,000, it is a huge financial commitment to make without serious thought.

1.    A pet emergency fund

Much like your own emergency fund, this is money set aside to cover any unforeseen eventualities. Surgical treatments cost an average of £1,500 each, and if something happens that is not covered by your insurance plan you need to make sure you have enough money to pay for your pet’s care without sending yourself into debt.

Building this fund should happen before you even have your pet in your house.

2.    Monthly necessities

You need to sit down and make a list of all the monthly necessities that will need to be added to your budget one you have your pet. This includes pet insurance, food, toys, items for walking or exercising your pet, and even training costs.

All these must be accounted for in order to make sure that you have adequate funds to train, feed, and care for your pet.

3.    Pet insurance

The average cost of pet insurance in the UK is £24 a month. However, if you have a specialist or rare breed then this cost may skyrocket. Not only that, but as your pet gets towards the end of its life, many emergency operations may not be covered on your plan.

You need to do your research thoroughly and seek advice from other pet owners with the same size and breed animal as you. Your pet’s health is your responsibility and you need to make sure you can afford to look after it when it needs you most.

4.    Time alone

How much time will your pet be spending alone whilst you go to work, visit the gym, and participate in your hobbies or club to which you already have a commitment?

Loneliness can have a detrimental effect on your pet’s mental health so you need to consider whether or not they may need a companion (which will cost you more money), or even to be sent to pet day care during the working week (which, again, will cost you even more money).

5.    Lifestyle changes

You need to take into account the lifestyle changes that you will need to make if you are serious about committing to a pet, and what these could cost you financially.

For example, if you have a puppy waiting at home who needs to be walked and fed, you will no longer be able to put in long hours of overtime, or be available to pick up last minute shifts. You will also need to take into account the cost of boarding your pet if you ever want to go away on holiday, which in the UK costs an average of £17.35 a day for dogs and £9.57 for cats.

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