Do you have a pet? If not, are you thinking of getting one? If you’ve been considering investing in a new member of the family, you’re not alone. There’s been a surge in demand for dogs in particular during lockdown, with breeders receiving lots more enquiries while the nation has been staying indoors.

It makes sense that during this time at home we’d want to find a new friend. As a nation, we love animals. But what makes us potty about pets? And how much do they cost?

Here’s a look at why we like to own animals, and the pros and cons of having a pet of your own.

A nation of pet lovers

So, why do Brits have a reputation for loving animals so much? This likely comes from Britain becoming the first country in the world to start a welfare charity for the care of animals. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals achieved royal status in 1840, at the request of Queen Victoria.

Today, over half of UK households have a pet, totalling almost 7 million dogs and 8 million cats. Therefore, we all seem to still adore our furry friends.

What can pets do for us?

There are some real benefits to owning a pet. The main one is that they offer companionship, keeping their owner company and giving them another life to care for. Certain types of dog can provide protection, too. In addition, dogs provide a reason for getting outside and going for a walk.

How much do pets cost?

There are economic benefits to people in the UK owning pets too. In 2019, pet food was worth a market value of £2.8 billion, and the veterinary market worth £2.5 billion. So, the pet industry is big business.

If you’re thinking about whether or not to add a pet to your household, you’ll need to think about how much it will cost in the first instance. For example, a dog from a registered breeder can cost anything from £50 up to £1,000 for some of the more popular breeds, such as labradoodles or pugs. If you fall in love with one of these more expensive dogs, you may need to consider your finances before you buy.

In addition, you’ll need to consider the longer-term expenses of owning a pet. According to, you could spend as much as £26,000 on your dog across its lifetime, although the actual amount will depend on the breed. This covers everything from pet food and toys to vet bills and insurance. Cats cost around £16,000 and rabbits cost £8,000.

Taking care of your pet

As well as the costs involved, before you take the plunge and buy a pet you’ll need to think about some further practicalities. For example, who will look after your pet while you’re at work? Cats are generally self-sufficient, but dogs need a lot of attention. If you can’t commit to walking it twice a day due to your job role, that could be a downside to buying your pet.

Likewise, who will look after your pet if you go away overnight? Someone will need to feed it at the very least.


There are some important considerations to make before investing in a pet. If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and would still like to get one, it’s worth doing research and finding your perfect match.