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With the cost of raising children at an all-time high, it may intuitively follow that keeping a pet pooch instead is a significantly less demanding option. Ostensibly it is, with the average lifetime of a dog is considerably shorter than the dependent years of a child. There are, however, a handful of considerations that may have you thinking twice about visiting your local dog rescue centre.

Having held the title of man’s best friend for at least the past 19,000 years, dogs have served a countless variety of roles as working dogs, assistant dogs and increasingly as pet companions. Yet research by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals has found though that 98% of owners are grossly underestimating the £21,000-£33,000 cost of buying and caring for a dog over an average 13 year lifespan. Furthermore, dog owners will generally have to fork out for a professional dog sitting service or kennel if they intend to leave their dog behind whilst working or holidaying. If the dog must travel abroad, its owner is likely to find obtaining the compulsory pet passport to be more expensive and onerous than the human counterpart.

Still, this pales in comparison to the projected £230,000 expense of raising a child born in 2016 to the age of 21. That two decade commitment will include time sacrifices, such as homework help, attending activities and ferrying the kids to friends’ houses. Parents of younger children must also plan of the cost of child minders in advance before they enjoy social time together, away from the kids.

The average age of mothers and fathers in the UK is 30 and 33 respectively and they are projected to live into their nineties. Consequently, parents starting families today are likely to see their children past their sixtieth birthdays. To scale up the cost of continuous dog ownership to sixty years, represents a sum of money in the same order of magnitude as raising a child to the age of 21! Whilst a dog offers affection, companionship, fun, and a healthy lifestyle, it is not able to offer the enduring relationship of one’s own child, nurtured by the values and experiences in its own family. That very child may even become their own parents’ carer in old age.

Students with an interest in Human Sciences, HSPS and Politics may find it beneficial to familiarise themselves with the increasing financial demands on families in the UK and the increasing dependence of carers in their sixties who look after both elderly parents and their own adult children.

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