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Lifetime cost of owning a pet cat or dog can reach £17,000

26th September 2011 Print

The average lifetime cost of owning a dog today stands at around £16,900, while the corresponding figure for a cat is around £17,200, according to research from Sainsbury's Pet Insurance.

The average annual cost of owning a dog is currently £1,183 and when you take into account inflation and rising costs, if you bought a new puppy today the annual cost of looking after it could easily rise by around 20% to £1,418 during its life expectancy, which is on average 13 years.

Meanwhile, the current average annual cost of owning a cat is a slightly lower £1,028 but this could increase to an annual cost of £1,270 in 15 years' time - the average life expectancy of a pet cat in the UK. This equates to an increase of 23.5% in the annual cost of owning a cat over that time period.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance's research found food accounts for around 33.7% of the average annual spend on a pet dog, and 41% for a pet cat.  The corresponding figures for vet fees/medical treatment are 15% and 13% respectively, However, these figures are set to rise dramatically because vet fees are increasing by up to 15% a year, which means it is all the more important to have adequate pet insurance in place. 

The supermarket bank is urging dog and cat owners to think about the long term care of their pet and ensure they purchase quality pet insurance that provides a good level of vet fee cover for multiple conditions throughout the pet's life.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance provides cover for up to £7,500 per condition for veterinary treatments.  However the average level of vet fee cover for cats and dogs can be around half of this amount.   Alarmingly, there are a number of pet insurance policies on the market offering as little as £1,500 worth of vet fee cover per condition.

Helen Williams, Head of Sainsbury's Pet Insurance said: "Looking after a pet dog or cat properly can involve a significant financial commitment. Costs can escalate as pets get older as they often need extra medical care and attention; with advances in veterinary treatment and better diets many will live well beyond their average life expectancy so  it's important to have good pet insurance in place to pick up what could otherwise be fairly daunting costs." 

Quality pet insurance does not need to be expensive; good cover at a competitive price can be found by shopping around for the best deal, and it is essential to compare policies on a like-for-like basis - comparing on price alone could be disastrous. Sainsbury's Pet Insurance offers an extensive range of benefits at a competitive price. For further information, visit