New study reveals how much UK spends on pets

A new report from MORE TH>N, based on a study of 10,000 cat and dog owners, reveals how much British pet owners are spending on their beloved companions.

The study found that British dog owners are spending an average of £240 on their pooch each month, with costs incurred including food, treats, professional grooming, pet insurance and vets fees. Cat owners meanwhile are spending £100 on similar items in comparison. This equates to a whopping £24.5 billion being spent on dogs, and £9.6 billion being spent on cats, in the UK each year*.

A full breakdown of monthly outgoings per owner can be seen below:

Amount spent per month on a dog Amount spent per month on a cat
Food  £                   58  £                   36
Treats  £                   34  £                   12
Toys  £                   27  £                     9
Professional Grooming  £                   29  £                     6
Dog Walker  £                   22  £                   10
Pet Insurance  £                   34  £                   11
Medication/Vet Bills  £                   37  £                   17
Total  £                 240  £                 100

Despite the well-documented significant cost of owning a pet however, the study also found that the majority of would-be pet owners – 58% of dog owners and 83% of cat owners – did no research in to the costs associated with their future pet prior to owning it, with one in five not even thinking there was research to be done.

The research revealed only six in ten dogs and three in ten cats are insured, which could mean expensive repercussions if their pet becomes ill or is injured and they re faced with unexpected vet bills.

On average, dog owners said they’d be willing to spend up to £1,271 on vet fees and cat owners an average of £767. While these may sound like large sums of money, the research also showed that pet owners consistently underestimated the cost of the most common medical conditions and their treatment for cats and dogs.

Dog owners, for example, estimated a cruciate (knee) rupture as costing an average of £873, when in reality the average is £2,029 – a £1,156 difference. Lameness they believed would cost £508 on average; however the real average cost was revealed to be £725 – a £217 difference..

Cat owners also underestimated the cost of some common conditions. For example, they believed if their cat was involved in a road traffic accident it would cost them an average of £807, when the actual average was £1,344 – £537 more. Hyperthyroidism was also underestimated by some £413 – £849 against the actual cost of £436.

So how do pet owners pay for unexpected treatment if they are not insured? Worryingly many would get into debt. The research showed that just over half would dip into their savings (51%) , but almost two in five would use a credit card (39%), 26% would take out a loan, while nearly a quarter (23%) would borrow from family and friends. Most shockingly however, 8% admitted they’d be forced to have their pet put down.

The study also revealed that 18% of owners admitted their pet requires regular medication – on average costing £109.19 per month – a staggering £1,310.28 per year!

“The survey and report show that dog and cat owners consistently underestimate the potential healthcare and medical costs for their pets – especially as more than half of them did no research at all before acquiring their pet”, Mark Bowden, Head of Product – Pet, MORE TH>N, told PaymentEye.

“There is no NHS for pets and treatment costs can be high. We would encourage every dog and cat owner to protect themselves with pet insurance and factor in this cost as part of the financial responsibility for owning a pet.”

*- This finding is based on the fact that there are 8.5 million dogs and 8 million cats in the UK (

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