RabbitBritain is a nation of animal lovers, with millions of us enjoying the company of pets such as dogs, cats, horses and rabbits.

Pets cost money though, so it is worth checking out the likely cost before buying an animal friend. We investigate how much you will have to spend.


Dogs
Buying a dog can cost up to £700 or more if you want a pedigree breed. You can get puppies from rescue centres for a fraction of the cost, though.

Once you have you dog, the annual cost of keeping and feeding it is likely to be more than £1,000, with recent research from Sainsbury's pet insurance indicating that the average lifetime cost of owning a dog today stands at around £16,900 (over 13 years).


Sainsbury's estimates that dog food accounts for just over a third of the average spend on a pet dog, while vet fees account for 15%.

If, however, your dog contracts a serious disease the cost of treatment could be huge. Diabetes treatment, for example, could lead to bills of close to £10,000 over its lifetime. Dog insurance at from about £10 a month may therefore prove a good investment.

Cats
You can often find kittens advertised for free, but if you want a pure breed you could pay up to £500.

The lifetime cost of owning a cat, meanwhile, is currently £17,200, based on an average annual cost of £1,028.

Potential costs to bear in mind include vaccinations at about £60 in total and spaying (about £100) or neutering (about £70).

With an older cat, on the other hand, more frequent visits to the vet may be necessary due to his or her failing health.

Rabbits
You should generally expect to pay at least £20 for a pet rabbit - even if you get one from a rescue centre.

Annual maintenance costs, meanwhile, are around the £500 mark. Should your rabbit fall ill, the cost of treatment at the local vet can also easily run into hundreds of pounds – despite their small size.

An operation to remove an abscess, for example, costs around £90 to £100. Insurance to cover such bills at a cost of between £5 and £10 a month may therefore be a good idea.

Fish
You can buy a small common goldfish for as little as 75p, but fancier types such as fantails can cost up to about £30 (depending on the size).

For a small goldfish bowl, meanwhile, you can expect to pay £12 or more. A large aquarium style bowl, however, can cost £200 or more.

Tropical fish are also more expensive, with a small Angel fish, for example, costing at least £5. The good news, though, is that even tropical fish food only costs about £3-5 a tub.

Horses
Horses and ponies can cost anything from a couple of hundred pounds to many thousands of pounds.

However much you part with to buy one, though, the ongoing costs involved in feeding, housing and equipping your horse are likely to be much greater.

If you do not have your own land, for example, livery costs alone will set you back between £20 (for grass livery) and £150 (for full livery including a stable) a week.

With other costs such as hay and tack thrown in, the annual cost is therefore likely to be between £3,000 and £10,000.

Should your horse or pony fall ill or sustain an injury, the vet bills can also quickly mount up, with even small operations costing several thousands of pounds.



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