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LONDON, 13 December 2017 — A OnePoll survey commissioned by TotallyMoney reveals the average cost of pets over their lifetime is much higher than we think, lending credence to the old saying that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. The interactive calculator looks at a range of pets — including dogs, cats, rabbits, lizards, and chickens to name a few — and takes into account many factors to estimate how much that pet will cost its owner in its lifetime. These factors include food, toys, insurance, healthcare, and grooming, among others. The calculator is set at the average cost for each variable, but users can adjust each price depending on their own pet-spending habits. The research shows we vastly underestimate how much our pets cost us over their lifetime.


Estimated Cost

Real Cost

Times More Expensive

















Guinea pig
























Cats, for example, on average cost owners £12,300 but have a perceived cost of £5,594. Similarly, dogs on average cost owners £20,178 but have a perceived cost of £6,303. That’s over two and three times more expensive, respectively. Man’s best friend? Maybe over Christmas The research shows we dote on dogs much more over the festive period, with 30% of owners feeding their pooch a special Christmas lunch. What’s more, 17% of dog owners have dressed their pet in a Christmas outfit. 10% of pet owners will spend more on their pet than their partner, while 21% of dog owners will spend more on their pet than their best friend. More than half of dogs have received a Christmas present. Northern Ireland comes top for spending the most on their pets at Christmas. The table below shows how much each region plans to spend on their animals over the festive period.



Northern Ireland


West Midlands


East Midlands


Yorkshire and the Humber




South East


North West




North East


South West




East Anglia


53% of pet owners would rather have their pet than a baby Although pet owners might not realise just how much their pet costs, it seems this does little to put them off:

  • 52% of people feel their pet is part of the family
  • 23% of people feel that their pet is their best friend; for dog owners, this is 33%
  • 20% of people tell their pet how they feel
  • 20% of people feel their pet talks to them
  • 60% of owners have never regretted getting their pet.

Look at the interactive calculator to estimate how much your pet is costing you. About TotallyMoney TotallyMoney provides customers with a free Credit Report and Live Score that puts them right at the centre of their credit data, helps them make smarter decisions, and take control of their finances. TotallyMoney’s unique Borrowing Power algorithm shows customers how likely they are to be offered credit by real-world lenders. TotallyMoney won the Innovation in Customer Contact award at the 2017 Credit Awards for their intelligent email alerts service. These personalised monthly emails tell users about products that could help them, based on their credit eligibility. TotallyMoney is an independent credit broker, not a lender. It provides a free comparison service to customers, though they may be paid a fee by lenders. How much they get paid doesn't influence how the service works or the ranking of any credit products presented to customers.

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