Laura is a paramedic and was a waitress on Channel 4’s First Dates.
She told us how much she spends on her two rescue dogs, Tommi and Ella.
Before we get started, how much do you think you spend each month on your pet?
Gosh, it’s going to sound ridiculous but I think definitely a couple of hundred pounds. Tommi destroys toys in about 0.4 seconds so he goes through a few!
What things did you buy before you got your dogs to prepare for them coming home?
As I'd previously had a dog I still had bowls and leads, so luckily that was taken care of.
I got a new bed and a baby gate and an enormous pile of dog toys for him. Honestly, you’d have thought I was bringing 30 dogs home with the number of toys I bought, and they didn’t last that long!
Oh and I did buy him a bowtie for his first day home too.
How much did you pay or donate for your dogs? Where did you get your dogs from?
£120 for Tommi and £160 for Ella, they were rescues from Action Aid for animals.
How much do you spend on food and tasty treats?
We feed Pooch and Mutt wet food to both dogs, I actually work with Pooch and Mutt so their food is taken care of by them.
With dog treats, I have a friend at work that makes them and that’s about £40 a month, and then I probably spend £20 a week on other treats.
How much do you spend on toys per month?
I reckon I spend £70 a month on toys, just because we always take a ball out and Tommi always loses them so we go through balls ridiculously quickly, and the soft toys cost a bit and are destroyed within minutes. But they love their toys so we have to have them!
How much do you spend on pet insurance?
I’ve got them on a multi-pet plan, which I think is about £36 per month. I weighed it up when I first got them, my previous dog barely went to the vets, but ultimately I decided I’d rather be on the safe side, and have them insured. I'm so glad I did, it definitely paid off this time; in the last couple of months they’d have cost me thousands in vet bills.
You’ve got to think, when your pet is going through something like Tommi was, the last thing you want to do is worry about how you’re going to pay for it. It’s so nice just knowing you’re covered.
Do your pets have any hobbies or classes they attend?
Ella goes to hydrotherapy now since having her hip done, which is about £40 a session. And near us we have an agility field, which costs £10 to hire.
We go once a month, just because he loves it and it’s good for his brain to think about something. Ella just sits and watches, she doesn’t really get it but Tommi loves it, although he’s not that good!
Do you have other monthly costs associated with your dogs? Supplements, poo bags or dog walkers/trainers etc?
Yes, we have a dog walker who comes twice a week when I am on the day shifts, so I pay £28 per week for that.
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on your pet?
Definitely the medical treatment, I think Ella’s operation was £2,800 – and Tommi was very sick and stayed in the hospital for 8 days, I think that was over £3,500 in the end.
What’s the most you’ve spent other than medical treatment?
Their dog bed. I’ve got one big enough for both of them, which was £165. It’s a memory foam mattress, I swear it was better quality than the bed I was sleeping on.
Has having a pet influenced other spending?
Definitely. I had a beautiful dining room table and a bench, and I get home and Tommi is stood on the table, having used the bench to jump up, it was a solid wood table that is now covered in scratches soI am ordering a new one with proper chairs so he can’t jump up.
Were you surprised how much you spend each month?
It’s interesting because you don’t really think about it in the context of the month like you don’t really notice the outgoings, but seeing it all laid out like this it really does add up, but they are so worth it!