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Only a week left until it is a legal requirement to microchip your dog and avoid a fine

It's time to microchip your pet

You’ve only got a week left! From 6 April it will be a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped. If you don’t, you face a £500 fine.

The aim of this is to make it easier to reunite owners with lost or stolen pets; reduce the strain on animal charities; make it easier to find the owners of dangerous dogs and reduce the number of illegal puppy farms.

Despite being a nation of animal lovers, there are an estimated 1.8 million dogs without microchips.

However, what is more worrying is how much we underestimate the cost of keeping out pets. The average dog will cost its owner between £16,000 to £30,000, depending on the size of the dog and how much it eats.

Food and vet bills can both be costly. For example, the cost of treating a dog for a road traffic accident can be more than £600, while the lifetime costs of treating a dog with diabetes can cost over £10,000.

With this in mind, it is clear if you are looking at cutting your personal costs, you also need to look at how much you are spending on your furry friend.

Pets have price tags

With vet bills this high, you should at least consider pet insurance. However, pet insurance is not cheap and, when you consider you will not need it every month, can seem an unnecessary expense.

So, how can you keep the costs of pet insurance down?

Premiums for spayed or neutered pets are lower, with the added advantage of removing the risk of the unexpected pitter-patter of tiny paws.

Taking out a lifetime policy when your pet is young and healthy will work out cheaper than insuring and older animal or one with a pre-existing condition.

Like with so many things, shop around to get the best deal. There are a large number of companies offering pet insurance and a variety of different policies, so make sure you do your homework to get the right policy at the best price.

Lastly, get your pet microchipped. Many insurers will charge a bit less if you have this done.

Making a dog's dinner of a dog's dinner

Like humans, dogs need food and big dogs need a lot of food.

An obvious way to make savings in your dogs’ bowl is to switch to a cheaper brand, but, like human food, not all dog food is created equal.

Cheaper brands often contain lower quality protein sources, extra salt and sugar and are bulked out with unnecessary ingredients.

A more expensive, higher-quality dog food can offer better nutrition for your pet and cut down on the number of vet visits.

Pet food is something you should look at buying in bulk as there are some serious savings to be made.

You can also save money while giving your pet the occasional treat they deserve by making your own at home. Not only is this cheaper, but you know exactly what is in them and tailor the recipe to your dog’s needs.

Bin the bling

Your pet does not care about brand name clothes or the latest fashions. No, honestly they don’t.

It is very easy to spend thousands on toys, bedding and other things for your pet, but it is all utterly unnecessary.

Old towels and sheets make perfectly good bedding for your pet and an old bit of rope is likely to give them as much enjoyment as a brand new toy which set you back £20 and will be chewed to pieces in five minutes.

In fact, cats and dogs and very much like children. They are more interested in the box the toy came in than the toy itself.

Prevention cheaper than a cure 

Want to keep the cost of keeping your pet down? Just make sure they are well cared for.

The simple things, like making sure they have their vaccinations and are up to date with boosters, will help prevent large vet bills later down the line.

Dental care is also really important. Specialist care when things get bad can run into the thousands.

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