While pets are priceless, they also come at a price. It’s important to realise that getting a pet will cost more than simply feeding it every day.

Some outlays, like sterilisation, are once-off, others, like food recur daily, monthly (e.g. tick and flea protection), quarterly (deworming) or annually (medical check-ups).

Some domestic pets live relatively short lives, others soldier on for up to 20 years, during which time you’ll be responsible for the costs of their needs. Some breeds come with congenital conditions that will require medical care as they age, others may develop or contract serious diseases in the course of their adventures. Both situations can cost a lot in vets’ bills.

Some pets have calm characters, others are intrepid, and their adventures could result in unforeseen (and unexpectedly high) medical bills or land you with liability debt.

You’ll be looking at cash outlays every step of the way.


8 ways you’ll pay for a new pet over its lifetime


  1. Acquiring
  • Even if you get a pet ‘free’ when a stray steals your heart it may cost quite a lot in medical screenings to determine a clean bill of health.
  • If you opt for a pure breed with papers you may find the initial layout high, but a good breeder ensures healthy babies.
  • Some pedigree breeds of dogs and cats come with their own list of medical issues. Do not support backyard breeders.

    TIP: the fee for sterilising an animal at a rescue shelter is often included in the (modest) adoption fee.


  1. Feeding
  • the better the food, the healthier your pet.
  • The more you invest in quality, nutritionally balanced pet food, the less you might spend at the vet.
  • if the newb has food allergies or needs a special diet or nutritional supplement, it can add up fast. And as they grow their needs will change.

    TIP: purchase pet food from a store that has a loyalty programme.


  1. Equipment
  • microchips
  • toys
  • toileting items like litter trays and litter
  • training aids
  • leashes and collars
  • travel crates
  • fences etc.
  1. Education
  • puppy school
  • animal behaviourist for behavioural problems
  • literature on understanding your pedigree
  1. Housing
  • blankets
  • a winter bed
  • an enclosure
  • a kennel
  1. Health and wellness
  • annual vaccinations
  • spaying or neutering
  • medical care
  • grooming
  1. Travel
  • pet sitters when you leave them at home
  • pet carriers when you take them with
  • accommodation that allows pets may charge a premium because it is harder to find
  • immigration
  1. Accidents
  • they do happen
  • it’s not just injuries to your animal
  • what if your animal causes injuries to someone else or to their property?


TIP: That’s where our liability cover can help hugely, up to R265 000, depending on which cover you have.


There’s one way to lower the costs

And this applies to your existing pets and any new ones you add to the family. dotsure.co.za pet insurance takes the pressure off pet expenses by assisting with vet bills, age-related ills and liability charges. You can Name Your Price™ and we’ll tailor-make the perfect cover package for you.

Here’s a pet cost calculator to help you add up the numbers. Call us to find out how we can slash them.

It costs more than money, though…

A pet also takes time and energy. Granted, you get most of it back, but it’s important to pick the right pet for your lifestyle and schedule.

Some breeds need more quality time, some characters need more running time. Nervous or traumatised rescues may need more training and comforting initially. And if they ever get sick you’ll know what worry really is. Got endless love but limited time and live in a flat? Consider a gerbil. Got a big garden and a big heart and work from home? Adopt a couple of medium-sized rescue dogs. Dogs are pack animals – they don’t like being alone. If you’re having a (human) baby soon, a more emotionally independent animal might be better (like a lizard).

We suggest considering the costs before you pick the pet, its age and size. Start small if you have any doubts at all. A budgie is a lot cheaper to look after than a beagle is…

We’ll insure all of them affordably, and this will help hugely with their wellness and medical expenses and cover you for liability.

Whatever the cost, one thing is for sure, when it comes to our well-being, caring for a pet is a priceless experience. It’s an emotional investment you won’t regret if you can afford it financially. Here are a few more blogs about being a pet parent:


What a puppy really wants (and needs)

A dog for depression?

Old dog diet