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How Much Will My Pet Cost Me? The Basic Costs Of Pet Ownership In South Africa


Jade Poole from I Write Words

Basic Costs of Pets

From vet bills, accidents, and routine care, we find out what it really costs to own a pet in South Africa and how pet parents can prepare for these costs.

The expenses of owning a pet are probably some of the most overlooked consequences when it comes to responsible pet ownership.

Of course, the real costs of pet parenting will depend on a number of factors, some of which include the age of your pet (older pets are more prone to developing health issues), the breed (some breeds have higher health risks than others), the size of your pet and the level of luxury you want to provide him or her with.

Think about it this way, when you buy a cat or a dog, this could entail a financial commitment of up to 20 years! And while there are also some wonderful memories, good times and love that fill those years, there are a also a number of expenses you need to take into account.

The purpose of this article is to inform you about the costs associated with pet ownership in South Africa in hopes of preparing your finances a little better.

The costs of veterinary care

The average cost of equipment for a veterinary practise costs roughly R1 000 000. The consumables and medicines are as high as R250 000 a month and as drugs are dependent on the exchange rate, these prices are constantly increasing.

Because we want our pets to receive the same expert care that we do from a private healthcare professional, you can expect to pay similar rates.

Have a look at the breakdown of specific costs in this article.


Kittens need 3 vaccinations, each one costs between R200 to R500 (this cost is typically inclusive of a physical examination too).

Puppies also require 3 vaccinations which cost about R300 each.

What happens when you don’t vaccinate your cat?

Your cat is then susceptible to serious health concerns. Snuffles is something that affects a number of unvaccinated cats. The consultation for this disease will cost R350. Antibiotic treatment will cost R150 to R200 or more and if your cat is not treated quickly and requires hospitalisation, then this can cost R2 000 to R4 000.

What happens when you don’t vaccinate your dog?

Parvo virus is something that is commonly seen in unvaccinated dogs. The treatment of this can cost between R4 000 and R15 000.  And only about 50% of patients survive.

Vet visits

The average vet visit costs R350 to R400. Cats and dogs need to see the vet at least once a year. And kittens and puppies need to visit the vet more regularly during their first year.

Screening tests

On top of annual visits and check-ups (which form an important part of routine care), your vet might advise that older pets are screened for common diseases, these may include kidney function tests for older cats.

This cost is about R350. X-rays for big dog breeds can cost between R1 500 and R2 000.

Pets on chronic medication

If your pet is on chronic medication, then the law requires you to visit the vet every 6 months for a check-up, which cost roughly R300 each visit. During these check-ups, your vet might want to run some tests to ensure the medication is working. The costs of these tests can range from R300 to R600 or more.


Pets should be dewormed every 3 months.

The cost for cats to be dewormed is R40 and dogs cost between R20 and R80.

Tick and flea control

This is recommended monthly. Cats cost R80 to R100 and dogs cost R80 to R160.

What happens when you don’t control ticks?

An uncomplicated case of tick bite fever can cost between R500 to R1 000 to treat. If hospitalisation is required, this can cost between R2 000 and R10 000.

Additional costs

And don’t forget about the additional costs associated with pet ownership such as:

●     Sterilisation (R1000 to R2 000 or more)

●     Euthanasia (R600 to R2 000 or more)

Pet care doesn’t come cheap

Keep in mind that the above-mentioned costs are based on average figures around South Africa and the real costs come down to where you live and your vet of choice.

But it starts to become clear as to how much it costs to own a pet and how this can take a toll on your bank account.

Which is where pet insurance comes into play.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance that includes cover for accidents and routine care (vet visits and check-ups) is a surefire way to save yourself from surprise vet bills and those associated with planned routine care.

Pet insurance is like a form of pet medical aid, and if you ask me, your monthly premium is more than worth the cover you get.

In fact, here are some reasons as to why pet insurance makes financial sense.

Until next time,

The Pet Insurance Team

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