The Cost of Christmas Pets


(Featured image credit Phillip Guyton, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Each Christmas people all over the UK enjoy a furry addition to their family in the form of a new pet. In an effort to inform potential pet owners about the responsibility and cost involved with owning a pet, has created a Cost of Christmas Pets calculator: has teamed up with Wood Green, The Animals Charity, in an attempt to educate people on the time and financial commitment adopting a pet can take.

Founded in 1924, Wood Green is one of the leading animal welfare organisations in the UK. As well as cats and dogs, Wood Green find loving new homes for thousands of chickens, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, ferrets and more, rehoming over 4,000 animals in the past twelve months.

Linda Cantle, Director of Animal Welfare at Wood Green explains:

“We appreciate that people sometimes have to make the difficult decision to give up their pet, but our doors are always open for anyone needing support, advice, or help rehoming a pet. This Christmas we’ll be looking after over 650 animals who are desperately seeking new homes and we would love to find them their own living rooms. Please get in touch if you can offer a loving home.”

Reasons Christmas pets are abandoned:

  • Cost (
  • Unwanted litters
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Not enough time to spend with the pet/ training the pet
  • Allergies
  • Pet old age/ illness
  • Clashes with other pets
  • Too many animals at home
  • Owner’s ill health


While animals can often seem like an ideal addition to a family, the overall cost can be hard to understand.’s research shows that even a small dog can cost £19,224 over its lifetime.

Pets can now be bought online, on a whim, without serious thought. Last year Wood Green, The Animals Charity tracked 40,000 internet adverts selling dogs alone, in just one day. Wood Green now promotes pets in their care online but backed by the support and advice potential owners need to make the best pet match.

By adopting a pet from a charity such as Wood Green, not only will you be giving a new life to a homeless pet, you will also be certain that they have had the veterinary checks they need and that you have the support to keep your pet healthy and happy.

By adopting a shelter pet you could be saving an animal that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance of living in a happy home. These rescued animals are often housetrained, familiar with family life, neutered, microchipped and vaccinated – potentially saving you hundreds of pounds on training and veterinary fees.

While all pets deserve to be looked after properly, there are ways you can reduce the costs of caring for your furry friends.

One of the best gifts you can give your pet is to spend quality time with them over the holiday period and even try your hand at making them their own special gifts with these pet treat recipe cards from Wood Green.

Despite some pets being more pampered than others, the most expensive pet lives a more subdued lifestyle. The tortoise, on account of its long average lifespan, can cost an owner £27,787 over 75 years – so it’s not only money but also a lifetime of commitment that is needed to properly care for a tortoise.

Research showed that 40% or tortoise owners admit to taking their pet on holiday with them, so clearly there’s a lot of love for these lettuce-munching creatures.

The UK’s most expensive pets

  • Tortoise: £27,787 over 75 years
  • Small dog: £19,224 over 15 years
  • Large dog: £17,234 over 11.5 years
  • Medium dog: £16,828 over 11.5 years
  • Cat: £12,322 over 16 years has created an infographic, which reveals how much the UK’s estimated 13 million pet owners spend on their animals on average:

However, a sadly familiar story is that many of these dogs are abandoned after the festive season. It is estimated that 130,000 dogs are abandoned each year in the UK. also conducted a survey which revealed that, despite the costs, only 2% of UK pet owners regret getting their animal and have considered getting rid of it. In fact, 95% of dog owners consider their four-legged friend to be a family member. Even after telling cat owners that their pet would cost them the same amount as a deposit on a house, 88% claimed they’d rather have the cat.

Linda Cantle added: “Wood Green cares for thousands of animals every year. This year we want to treat all of our animals to an extra special Christmas. We are asking you to buy a Christmas Care Box, so we can give pets nutritious food, snuggly blankets, heat pads, and treats. Visit the Wood Green website or call 0300 303 9876 to find out more about our animals looking for a home and to make a donation to our Christmas appeal.”


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