AIBU to think that pets are a luxury?

(137 Posts)
E320 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:57:13

prompted by a post on another board.
Do people also factor their cost (food, vet's bills, insurance etc.) into the monthly budget or even the weekly shopping (food)?

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Thu 04-Apr-13 17:21:33

I am a vet, and I do think animals, while a great thing to have, are a bit of a luxury item.

Some people have mentioned vet's bills as being "ridiculous", but to be fair, I don't think that's true. The cost of drugs and other aspects of running a surgery (eg heating/ lighting/ water) has risen. I have my own practice and don't make anything like my friends who are lawyers/ bankers/ accountants (I earn about half they do, and work far more hours) I don't really mind- I do my job because I love it, and always have.

But it breaks my heart when I have to euthanase an animal because owners can't afford to treat it. Most times it's not even as though I could treat it and do it for nothing- treating would mean referral for MRI scans etc which cost £££. Other times it is due to behavioural issues that may have been helped/ avoided by consulting a behaviouralist, but owners are unwilling/ unable to spend the time or money required. sad I often see these owners back with their new puppy the next month.

I know people mean well, but taking on a pet you can't afford is not always the best thing for the animal. You may be stopping it from going to a home where they could afford insurance for that £4000 spinal surgery that would give it another 5 years or so of life. Or where they could afford painkillers to allow it to be pain-free for the last couple of years of its life. Seems to me lots of people take on animals on the basis of what the animal can bring to them, and not thinking about what they can give the animal. And please don't say "love"- love doesn't cure broken legs or rotten purulent teeth!!

Failedhippy Thu 04-Apr-13 17:10:54

yanbu, we have a dog and it has considerate cost implications, for 2 months running we have had a visit to the vet each costing £70, that on top of a decent quality food, pet insurance (the excess is £100 so previous 2 trips not covered), weekly dog classes and a recent home visit from a dog trainer due to a behavioural issue. I would definitely say its my luxury. The children and I would be lost without our dog...DH not so much!

maninawomansworld Thu 04-Apr-13 15:42:48

Yes they are a luxury, if you can't afford them don't have them.

If you fall on hard times and already have a pet that costs a fair whack to keep then it's horrible and much less clear cut than simply getting rid of the pet.

Much like kids really... (apart from the getting rid bit).

Corygal Sun 31-Mar-13 22:50:01

I pay for fat tabby Mr Cory's food. He pays my Rentokil visits, heating at night, and blood pressure pills. I owe him loads of money.

Luxury - no.

Commitment -yes.

You're taking on a living thing. The lifespan of that particular thing defines the amount of forward thinking you need to have before getting it.

babybythesea, I love your posts about owning a dog on this thread, you've said it all, for me smile

EricBloodaxe Sun 31-Mar-13 22:31:44

How do you define luxury? Yes, my dog does need to be fed and does incur the odd vet's bill (so far less than £100 a year) but, she is a totally loved and hugely important part of our family. Because of her we all walk for at least 2 hours on Saturdays and Sundays and other days too when we're on holidays. I also walk her for at least an hour Mon - Fri. Luxury no, exercise machine and mental health provider, yes. smile

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 22:23:29

But here's a big but ............the year before we got our first two boys we had to get Rentokil out twice because rats had gnawed into the house. We live near the river and it is a locational hazard. We still have to have poison trap things laid outside but haven't had a whisper of one indoors - or any mice for that matter. Bear in mind that a Rentokil visit is £270.

extracrunchy Sun 31-Mar-13 22:06:31

They are a luxury in the sense that they incur inessential expenses.

HesterShaw Sun 31-Mar-13 22:05:58

Ha ha ha would that that were true

<stares balefully at accident prone, obese, hypochondriac moggy>

portraitoftheartist Sun 31-Mar-13 21:53:11

People can choose what they spend their money on. A cat costs very little, the majority of them have no vaccinations or insurance or cattery costs. You can feed the cheapest food and most will still live a vet-free life for 15 plus years.
A small dog costs a bit more but, again, you can buy the basics or the absolute best. It's up to you.

MaybeOrnot Sun 31-Mar-13 21:39:08

I was going to say,pets and chidren...both luxuries.

SandraSue Sun 31-Mar-13 21:33:18

I think they're as much a luxury as children are. Some people want chiödren, some don't. Some want pets, some dont. smile

midastouch Sun 31-Mar-13 21:29:26

Thats really lovely D0oinMeCleanin smile

We arent particularly well off but i dont feel that having dogs means my DCs lose out, we may not go to the cinema, soft play but to be fair who wants to? or go on holiday but they have DVDS they get plenty of xmas and birthday presents, we go out in holidays to places that are free or using tesco rewards. Dogs dont have to come everywhere with you they are fine home alone for a few hours.
We would be a lot better off in terms of money but i certainly wouldnt be happy without my doggies and my DCs love them too!

SillyTilly123 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:55:39

I have a large aquarium (50 + fish) a cat and a dog. I'm not sure what they cost as I get stuff as I need it, don't really budget but if I was not able to afford them anymore, I would get rid of the fish (emotional attachment not as strong with them, though I'd be gutted) but I would never ever consider getting rid of the cat or dog. I would get rid of my car before them (that's the biggest expense we have at about £130 a month)

My dds all love the dog (they're indifferent to the cat as he doesn't do much) and if I said to them we will have to either get rid of the dog or no (whatever) I know they'd choose the dog. (I put whatever as tbh my kids don't do regular things -even before we got the dog- we might go to softplay one week, swimming the next, day at the fair/beach or some weeks we will do nothing more than visit friends)

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 31-Mar-13 19:50:16

For some people they are not a luxury. My very ill and depressed father has four dogs, three of his own and one end of life foster. He never meant to have four, he only ever wanted one, he just accidentally collected the rest.

Before he got the first dog he would sleep for days on end, rarely washed, rarely left the house, never spoke to anyone etc.

He now walks for two hours a day, has a whole new group of friends and has to get out of bed to see to his dogs. He can't afford them, per se, but we have an unspoken agreement whereby I pay for any emergency treatment the dogs might need so they save on pet insurance. I also help out with other essentials such as replacing the PC he needed to keep going the business he set up in order to fund his dogs.

Those dogs have literally saved his life.

We are fortunate in that we can afford my dogs without going without, we have a great network of people who provide holiday care for us, although Devil Dog ends up in kennels sometimes, depending on how many arch nemesis he has collected through the year and whether there is space anywhere where won't end up eating or being eaten by another resident dog, we are never short of carers for Whippy or fat cat. I'll happily leave them alone to go to the cinema (not so much soft play, but that is more because I despise soft play) and cab leave them for whole days occassionally knowing that my Dad will come round and walk them for me half way through the day.

We are going away in August, Whippy will be going camping with my parents, Devil Dog may or may not go into kennels, depending upon whether his latest enemy at the foster co-ordinators house finds a home between now and then. We are away again in Sept, that will be more difficult as I will need to fund kennel space for my Devil Dog and two of my Dad's, the other two have their own dedicated babysitters and Whippy can go to our foster co-ordinator, so that weekend could potentially cost me another weeks holiday, but they're worth it to us. The neighbour will feed fat cat and the fish.

ChoudeBruxelles Sun 31-Mar-13 19:48:42

Our first dog was ds's 5th birthday presents. He went without pretty much any other non-dog related presents to get his beloved dog. We inherited our other dog when my mum passed away and it's nice to think that we are looking after him for her - rather than putting him in rescue kennels.

We go to the cinema but usually go to kids am at vue which cost £1.50 each and I take a bag of sweets with us rather than buy pop on there.

He enjoys us all going for walks as a family - given the choice of zoo or something else tomorrow he asked to go for a bike ride (the dogs will come too).

TSC you clearly aren't a dog/cat person and prioritise other things - which is fine. Others make different choices.

crashdoll Sun 31-Mar-13 19:37:21

When I got my dog, my financial position was much more comfortable. Hopefully, after my degree, I'll be in a better financial position again. I made a commitment when I got him and I will sacrifice for him because I chose to have him. Before I developed an illness that affected my mobility, I adored walking him. It was certainly not a chore. We explored places I never knew existed and I've lived in the same area for over 20 years. Fortunately, I have a supportive family who walk him but when they can't, I pay for a dog walker. That's just the way the cookie has crumbled.

I would not choose to get a dog now given my financial position but I have him now and his welfare is paramount. Imagine the outrage if I posted on here that I was rehoming my dog because I chose to leave my job and go to university. (Not that I would ever do this!) I'd rather pay for his pet insurance and decent quality food and go without. I don't care if I'm judged for this. It's my choice. It was my choice to get a dog, knowing that good health and good finances were not a given.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:24:49

'I'd have said playing on a beach is one of the most kid orientated things you could do!'

Absolutely. One of our favourite things for years.

babybythesea Sun 31-Mar-13 19:23:39

TSC: Sorry baby, I misunderstood, I thought you said you couldn't/ didn't do the cinema because you were skint? And prioritised pet ownership over spending cash on your kid/heating.

We'll never agree on this one. I said people prioritising pets over leisure for their kids was ballsed up priorities financially. You've said you prefer to walk down the beach with your dog than do stuff kid orientated (dog walking is a chore IMO) it is your choice, not necessarily your kids though is all I am saying.

We are skint and so cinema is one of the things we don't do. But at the moment, as I said, DD is only four and the one cinema trip we tried wasn't successful, so it's us that have our leisure dictated by the dog rather than her at this point.
Soft play - we do from time to time but she's just as happy at the beach and that's free and dog friendly. We don't eat out really, but eating out for us would involve getting babysitters so DD isn't missing out by us choosing not to do this either, or by us not eating a chinese every week. The sacrifices I make are just that, as far as I can see. Mine. No visits to the gym, no magazines or newspapers, and I would far rather have my dog than do this kind of stuff. And why is walking down a beach with your dog not kid orientated? I'd have said playing on a beach is one of the most kid orientated things you could do!

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:14:33

Fair enough. smile
So get a dog only if you want one and are prepared to do everything.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 19:13:15

Coz I'm soft and needy and they luff me best because I feed them.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:04:31

Why doesn't she look after her own cats?
Our cat is really DS's, he feeds it, loves it and deals with the litter tray. Only thing I do is the medication, because he's too soft. smile

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 19:01:19

What DD would rather have:

New clothes - nope
shoes - nope
meals out - nope
cinema - OK
theatre - OK
musical - yes
Ghastly music - yes
school trips - some
Party - maybe
Theme parks - yes
Dog - yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

She can have everything except a dog. She is 15 and beyond herself with desperation. DS would love one too. They will both have left home in three years and guess who isn't taking it for walks twice a day - now or then. Guess who looks after dd's cats?

Oh god, how would the cats take it?

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 31-Mar-13 18:50:05

We can afford a pet, and food and shoes and the cinema and everything.
If times were hard, we'd cut down on a lot of things before the cat was in the deal.
I think that's all most of us are saying, TSC.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sun 31-Mar-13 18:49:14

That should have said cinema once a month or KEEP the dog/cat

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