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Thinking of getting a dog, advice needed please

KhalJimbo

Distinguished Member
Hi All

My wife and I are thinking of getting a small dog. A Pekingese for what matters, a friend of ours is a vet and has made us aware of the problems that pekingese dogs face etc so we are well prepared for that.

What I am more looking for is advice on pet insurance and vet bills and pretty much the monthly costs of owning a dog.

We will need insurance, but what does the insurance cover? I have looked on compare websites for quotes but without owning the dog yet I can't seem to get a quote.

We are busy saving for a house (renting currently but are allowed a small dog) so don't want to take on a huge financial burden while we are putting away for a deposit. We are also thinking that we will be alot more home bound if taking on a pet so won't spend as much anymore allowing us to save more. But if it is going to be a massive set back then I think we'll wait untill we have bought a place.

But after any advice on the costs etc. The last thing we want is to buy a dog and find it too expensive for now and sell it on. I won't do that to it. So after real world advice now.
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
My sister in law just had her dog put down after 15 years. Had it put down at home and decided to have the ashes to scatter. Cost nearly £700. Really, if you are working on a tight budget, forget it for now. You really can't say what it will cost over it's lifetime. Insurance is not too bad at first, but as it gets older, obviously costs increase commensurate with risk.
 

Tiger Feet

Prominent Member
Insurance is a mind field - you generally get what you pay for.

Insurance will increase with the age of the dog too.

I would say for a small dog, Insurance + food would be around £50/60 a month in year one.

Obviously you need to factor in puppy pens, chews, toys, puppy proofing the garden, (new gates/fence etc....)

The puppy injections (2) will vary from vet to vet but will be around £40.

We got another Lab last year:

Puppy £650
Pens £300
toys £50
Insurance £22 month
Injections £38
Chipped £12.50
 

961

Prominent Member
Which? has a fairly comprehensive review of pet insurance, detailing the various types and what they do and don't cover

Pet insurance - Insurance - Which? Money

If you can't access the full details because you are not a subscriber you can get a 30 day trial for, I think, £1 which will let you read all of it on line

For what it's worth we have had dogs all our life and have never taken insurance. We have put something away each month just in case but, generally speaking, I think we are well ahead. If ever we've needed vet treatment the first question that is always asked is "Do you have insurance?" Perhaps I'm a bit cynical, but when we say no, the bills always seem that much smaller.

It's also the case that I wouldn't put an animal through the pain and stress that some expensive operations involve. All IMHO of course

When buying a dog, always ask to see the mother and pick from the litter if possible. Don't go for high pedigree breeding, especially with a Peke. Some can be very highly strung, but I'm sure your friend has told you that
 

flightphoto

Established Member
I've had dogs all my life and while some may say they're expensive, it's down to the breed and your location. I live out in the sticks so he's generally away from harm i.e. roads etc. His food costs £25 per month (30KG sack of dried food from Makro) we also pay no insurance, this is because he's a generally very healthy dog (pedigree boxer) our local vet mainly deals with equine but when he checks smaller animals he charges next to nothing, a check up is free and he will only charge for the injections i.e. vaccinations. On Sundays he gets a roast dinner (not too much gravy) but we've raised him to feed on veg, fruit, fresh meat and biscuits as we don't trust what goes in dog food tins. He's a great fan of broccoli and sprouts (but the aftermath is not always positive :) )

In fairness, the way to find a good breeder is to see if they actually want to sell you a pup, a proper breeder will actually assess you and not vice versa as it would be cruel to sell a dog to a home that's not capable of looking after an animal correctly, this includes your profession and what time you're home. To make this clearer, take a weimeraner for instance, these poor dogs are sold willy nilly when they're a very demanding dog and require a lot more attention than most - huskeys are in the same boat and I've lost count of how many pups (9 months old or less) are in dog shelters because of their nature and companionship requirement.

The decision is down to you and you only, you need to think about the overall costs and what you can provide for the dog and not vice versa. Tesco's insurance pops up quite a bit as a good plan but like some will say, putting away £30 a month in an ISA always helps as a rainy day fund as some insurances require that you pay for the work to be carried out before you receive the payout, it's the same as car insurance, the higher the payout, the higher the premiums will be in the future so you're not actually going to save any money in the long run! It's the same with mobile phone contacts, people think they're getting a deal because the phone is free - add up the 24 month period of payments and you find that it would have been cheaper to buy that handset outright and use an £8 pm option on pay as you go!
 

andyk

Established Member
We have had our dog for 3 years now (Springer Spaniel). I was quoted about £30 per month for insurance. That seemed far too much, so I declined.
She has been to the vets a few times (ear infection, she ate a load of chocolate that had to be got rid of and a small cut). Total bill for the 3 is about £230. My insurance bill so far would have been about £1000.
I accept that if something bad happens I will face a potentially large bill, but I've decided to cross that bridge when I get to it.
I suspect that a lot of things wouldn't be covered on the insurance anyway so be careful. One thing I can think of is any emergency call-out fees - check that out before buying.
 

961

Prominent Member
One thing you need to check is the excess some pet insurances have. If you have to pay the first £50 or £75 of every claim they may not actually contribute much more than you
 

KhalJimbo

Distinguished Member
Thanks Guys, some good advice so far on what to be expecting. Food for thought now.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
My Cocker Spaniel is four years old and we've always paid insurance for her, currently £17.30 per month. Apart from her yearly jabs she's not been to the vets. She's healthy and has been DNA tested by the breeders so is free from costly inherited conditions.

But I will continue to pay the insurance. If she has an accident it could cost thousands. My previous dogs, Field Spaniels, suffered from inherited diseases. The breed is on the Kennel Club endangered list and there is a very small gene pool. The youngest dog was epileptic, which first showed itself just after his fourth birthday. To try and find the cause and a possible solution cost us well over £10k. Sadly he had to be put to sleep at five years of age to save him further suffering. He was insured with Marks and Spencer and they did not quibble over any bill we presented them with. The policy also paid out on his purchase price and for him to be cremated.

He was such a beautiful, gentle animal and to be honest I think I would have remortgaged the house if there was any chance of a cure. I've made myself miserable now, reply to the thread.

I beg you brothers and sisters beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Kipling
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
I accept that if something bad happens I will face a potentially large bill, but I've decided to cross that bridge when I get to it.

My unexpected bills came to close to £3k and there was no insurance in place....Insurance is a must!
 

tontoshorse

Prominent Member
Something to watch out for with insurance is the "monthly" payments. Some insurers (E&L) charge by lunar month, ie 13 times a year. Also check T&Cs carefully. As the dog gets older the premium increases and the amount they pay out gets less. I notice a couple of people here who haven't taken out insurance and currently I tend to agree. The only exception is the public liability cover which does give peace of mind.
 

everett_psycho

Distinguished Member
We pay £13 pm for insurance, not had to claim on it yet but after my cousins dog costing them a couple of grand we see it as a must, feeding him on pedigree chum costs us about £15 once a month for the dry food then 50p a day for the tinned meat. HR often gets rice for dinner and some extra veg that gets chucked in when we have a roast dinner. The other thing to consider is where will you walk this dog, we are lucky living near a big park but even that gets boring, you might find yourself searching further afield for interesting walks and spending a fair bit on petrol to taxi the dog there regularly
 

NewfieDrool

Banned
I pulled out of Insurance a few years back when it was hitting nearly £80 a month. With all the red tape of small print for a select breed as they like to call mine it was really not worth my money. Hate to think what they would want now but if I has a smaller more common breed then insurance would be a must.
 

New Start Neil

Distinguished Member
andyk said:
I accept that if something bad happens I will face a potentially large bill, but I've decided to cross that bridge when I get to it.

Do you have £5/10k put aside in case you get to that bridge?
 

New Start Neil

Distinguished Member
Hi All

My wife and I are thinking of getting a small dog. A Pekingese for what matters, a friend of ours is a vet and has made us aware of the problems that pekingese dogs face etc so we are well prepared for that.

What I am more looking for is advice on pet insurance and vet bills and pretty much the monthly costs of owning a dog.

We will need insurance, but what does the insurance cover? I have looked on compare websites for quotes but without owning the dog yet I can't seem to get a quote.

We are busy saving for a house (renting currently but are allowed a small dog) so don't want to take on a huge financial burden while we are putting away for a deposit. We are also thinking that we will be alot more home bound if taking on a pet so won't spend as much anymore allowing us to save more. But if it is going to be a massive set back then I think we'll wait untill we have bought a place.

But after any advice on the costs etc. The last thing we want is to buy a dog and find it too expensive for now and sell it on. I won't do that to it. So after real world advice now.

Here's my v similar thread: http://www.avforums.com/forums/general-chat/1521582-advice-would-dog-owner.html

Also, insurance (IMO) is an absolute must.
 

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