Consider carefully before gifting a pet this Christmas

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If you’ve always dreamed of getting new pets, scenes like this are no doubt the stuff your cute Christmas dreams are made of!

The warm and fuzzy thought of gifting a puppy or kitten this Christmas can be very tempting. We get it! Those cute little faces – who can resist, right?

Firstly, a pet is a huge and expensive commitment

  • As cute as that gorgeous little puppy or kitten may be, it’s important to remember that they grow into adult dogs and cats.
  • Pets are a huge commitment that can cost a lot of money.
  • It’s important to take your time considering all the aspects of owning a pet. Believe it or not, they’re not necessarily the sort of surprise that everyone wants for Christmas.

Animal shelters plead with Aussies not to buy pets for Christmas

  • Unfortunately, every year animal shelters around Australia are inundated with surrendered pets.
  • The RSPCA report that the first few months of every year are always their busiest, as the reality of pet ownership sets in for many who received a puppy or kitten for Christmas.
  • Animal welfare organisations urge us to consider carefully before buying a pet for Christmas.
  • For those that know a pet is the right choice for them, consider adopting a pet from your local animal shelter. Think of the Christmas cheer that saving an animal will bring!

The price of having a pet

As well as lots of fluffy love and cuddles, a pet can bring a lot of expenses.  This includes some you mightn’t have thought of.

The truth about cats and dogs

  • Over its lifetime, owing a dog can cost you anywhere between $13,000 and $25,000. Yep, seriously.
  • Cats can cost slightly less, but because they tend to live longer than dogs they tend to set their owners back around the same amount.

Some of the pet costs you’ll need to consider are:

  • Vets bills – microchipping, vaccination, de-sexing, regular vet check-ups, not to mention unexpected costs due to injuries and accidents.
  • Pet insurance. This can help protect you from high unforeseen vet bills, and will cost around $20 to $60 per month, per pet.
  • Health expenses – for general treatments like fleas, ticks and worming, expect to pay between $300-450 each year, depending on the size of your pet.
  • Food – feeding your pet can set you back about $800 a year for premium brands.
  • Accessories – your dog or cat will need a few extras such as a collar, harness, leash, car restraint, feeding bowls, bedding and a kennel, plus a few toys! This can set you back as much as $500.
  • Other services – pet registration with your local council can cost between $30 and $190 per year. You might also need services like obedience training and grooming.

Here’s some ways to save cash on pet costs

  1. Rescue your pet – visit your local shelter
  • Get your new furry friend from the RSPCA or from a cat or dog shelter and they will be de-sexed, wormed and vaccinated, saving you a small fortune on these costs.
  1. Register your pet
  • This ensures that you and your pet can be more easily reunited if they get lost.
  • Also be warned that the fine for having an unregistered pet can be much higher than the registration fee itself.
  1. Check for discounts
  • Some councils have discounts to register pets over the age of 10.

Get the kids involved in the decision

  • The Great Pet Debate is a fun and interactive video your kids can use to help understand the costs and benefits of buying a pet.
  • The kids can learn all about the costs and the pros and cons of owning each type of pet.

Choose your pet to fit your budget

  • Whether it’s a dog, cat, reptile or fish that you’re considering as your new family member, it’s important you plan for the upfront and ongoing expenses.
  • You need to ensure your new family member will fit in with your household and your budget.