Is owning a pet a worthwhile investment?

 

How much exactly does that little doggy in the window cost?

We all know they’re cute, fluffy, and can be good companions. But are pets a worthwhile financial investment?

Technically, no. There are no financial benefits attached to owning any kind of pet… unless it’s an award-winning racehorse!

While owning a pet can be extremely rewarding, it can be equally as expensive.

According to the most recent New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC) report, caring for a dog can cost up to NZ$1,686 a year, which is about NZ$13,250 over a pet’s potential lifetime. The average New Zealand cat-owning household spends NZ$1,005 on their cats per year (this includes households with more than one cat).

New Zealanders spent an estimated NZ$1.8 billion on their pets in 2015, the report says. Of this, the cat and dog sectors made up NZ$1.5 billion, or 86 per cent.

 The New Zealand Companion Animal Council Report, 2016

The New Zealand Companion Animal Council Report, 2016

The SPCA says that dogs can be expensive, even ‘free’ dogs adopted through the centre. There’s annual registration, medical bills (such as vaccinations, desexing, and accidents), boarding fees to pay if you go away on holiday – plus potentially legal fees if your dog becomes a problem in the neighbourhood. So, it’s a good idea to weigh up if you can afford a pet long-term.

In recent years, cats and dogs have become increasingly pampered with the likes of doggy day-care, grooming services, and fashion designer leads and bowls from Karen Walker – an added expense for many. 

There has also been an increase in pet insurance, which has almost doubled in popularity over the past four years. One in 10 cat owners and nearly one in five dog owners now have pet insurance, according to the report.

So what type of returns do you get?

Love of course! 

Owning a pet is a good investment for yourself in terms of improving your mental health and wellbeing. Pets are known to make wonderful companions and provide unconditional love – they will always be happy to see you at the end of the day.

The NZCAC report shows companionship is the main reason New Zealanders decide to get pets. A staggering 83 per cent of people who own cats and 77 per cent of people who own dogs consider their pets to be highly important members of their family.

There is even scientific evidence to support that pet owners live longer, healthier lives due to improved mental health.

So, while it’s probably not the best financial investment you’ll ever make, the returns can come back tenfold in other aspects of your life.  

By Stephanie Munro

First published 23 March 2018

JUNO does not contain financial advice as defined by the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Consult a suitably qualified financial adviser before making investment decisions. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that JUNO considers accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate. Charts are visually indicative only.