Are you a doting dog owner? Then it's likely you'll fork out more than £18,000 over your pet’s lifetime, according to new research.
The study, carried out by international animal charity SPANA ahead of World Animal Day (October 4), shows that during the course of just one year, food, vets bills, treats and accessories will set owners back £1,384.81.
Based on a typical lifespan of 13 years for man - and woman's - best friend, that’s the equivalent of running a small family car, or paying for the annual household energy bills.
But just eight per cent of owners begrudge their pet spend, with eight in 10 claiming their dog is treated like ‘another member of the family’.
Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of international animal charity SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries, said: “The UK is undoubtedly a nation of animal lovers and pet owners are prepared to go to great lengths – and costs – to ensure their companions enjoy a happy and healthy life.
“It’s fantastic that pets are generally treated so well in this country. But, sadly, it’s often a very different situation in developing countries, where working animals such as horses, donkeys and camels, lead short, painful lives without the care, compassion and vital vet treatment they need. These animals urgently need our help.”
The survey found owners splash out £373.62 a year on food, £150.14 on grooming and a further £134.10 on kennels during an average year.
Understandably, vet bills come to £285.35 a year, and insurance is another £188.30.
But those owners who want to treat their canine companions admit they also spend £107 annually on accessories and £146.30 on gifts such as toys, Christmas presents, and food treats.
One in 10 people have even invested in designer clothing to keep their pooch looking its best, while 12 per cent have bought a luxury dog leash and eight per cent of dogs have their own carry bag.
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A fifth of owners think nothing of indulging their dog with expensive gourmet treats, and one in 10 even look for pet-orientated holidays.
Grooming parlours, diamante collars, pet massage and luxury kennels are also among the expenditure for owners who will do anything to keep their dog happy.
In addition to being spoiled, the average pooch is also humanised by many families – with 47 per cent thinking nothing of giving their pet human food, and one in 10 allowing their animal to watch whatever TV they like.
Four in 10 dogs sleep on the bed, while 25 per cent actually get in beside their owner.
A quarter of pooches enjoy listening to the radio all day long while left home along, and one in 10 have their hair and nails done.
Incredibly 23 per cent of owners admit they lavish their dogs with more kisses and cuddles than their partner.
Geoffrey Dennis continues: “Thankfully, many dog owners spoil their furry friends and it’s clear that pets rule the roost in households up and down the country.
“But, on World Animal Day, we’re asking everyone to give their support to those animals that aren’t so fortunate. Every day, many working animals overseas have to carry back-breaking loads, in extreme temperatures, with little food, water or shelter. They also often have no access to essential and lifesaving veterinary care. This simply has to change.”
Breakdown of costs
Vet bills £285.35
Total per year £1,384.81
X 13 years lifespan £18,002.53