Are pets too expensive?

You absolutely need a cat or a dog in your life but you don’t know how much a pet will cost you? According to a study released in 2012, our French neighbours – who incidentally own the most pets out of all European nations – spend a yearly average of € 600 on their cats and € 800 on their dogs. Statistical data on pet ownership in Luxembourg are difficult to obtain. According to the only available figures, we spend € 937,8 a year but this number includes not only money spent on pets but also expenses linked to flowers and gardens!

With or without pedigree?

The budget allocated to your cat or your dog will vary depending on your personal choices, as well as on the health and morphology of your four-legged friend. Firstly, the cost of buying a pet may vary, according to whether you prefer having an animal with or without a pedigree. For instance, a Chartreux cat – the main characteristics of this breed are copper-coloured eyes and a woolly coat of blue fur – costs between € 700 and € 1,000 depending on the cattery.

Secondly, you have to take into account expenses related to basic items that will amount to around a hundred euros: a carrier (from € 15 to € 80 if you have a very big dog), a litter box for the cat (from € 10 to € 20), a bowl (from € 2 to € 10), a collar and a leash (from € 30 to € 60), a brush (between € 8 and € 40 for a dog and between € 25 and € 30 for a cat) and a muzzle (from € 5 to € 40). The bill may turn out to be higher if you decide to spoil your pet: ranging from special treats and bedding to any imaginable kind of toy, the choice is near endless.

Healthcare costs and taxes

Thirdly, you have to take your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year (cost: between € 35 and € 50 per consultation); twice is better than once because clinical care for pets is very expensive, so prevention is key. Vaccinations are required during the first two years of your pet’s life and boosters every two to three years, or once a year, according to the circumstances and the way of life of the animal. These may include combination vaccines against feline rhinitis, panleukopenia, feline leukaemia and rabies for cats (ranging from € 60 to € 80 multiplied by 2 the first year because there are two injections) and combination vaccines against canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis and rabies for dogs (from € 50 to € 70 multiplied by 2 the first year because there are two injections). Castration (around € 80 for a cat and between € 120 and € 130 for a dog) is not mandatory but is recommended for cats because of the urine spraying of adult felines. Sterilisation costs between € 200 and € 450 for a female dog depending on its size and around € 150 for a female cat. To cover all or some of the veterinarian costs, you can subscribe to an animal insurance. Some insurance companies in Luxembourg are proposing that kind of coverage.

If you own a dog, you have to meet legal obligations that result in additional costs: your dog has to be tagged with an electronic chip by an approved veterinarian and registered at the local municipal office (identification of the breed, vaccination against rabies, etc.). As a dog owner, you also have to pay an annual tax (minimum € 10 a year, the amount may vary depending of the municipality). And if your dog belongs to a breed considered as potentially dangerous, the requirements are more restrictive and include dog training classes and a veterinary certificate with the date of castration; what’s more, the owner has to present a certificate of completion of practical and theoretical training, be an adult and submit a certificate declaring that he/she has never been convicted of a crime.

Regular and exceptional expenses

Last but not least, you have to anticipate regular expenses totalling anything from € 40 to more than € 100 a month. Recurring purchases include pet food (amount spent may vary depending on the size, the physical activity and the breed of your pet), cat litter, dog shampoo and other hygiene products, deworming and anti-flea treatments, and so on.

Think this is everything? Think again. If you want to travel with your four-legged companion, you have to buy a European pet passport. If not, you have to ask your friends to take care of your pet or take your dog or your cat to a kennel, a flourishing business in Luxembourg. With a daily rate of around € 10 for a cat and around € 20 for a dog, your three-week vacation without Rex or Mr Whiskers will cost you between € 200 and € 600!

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