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Poll dog owners

Poll reveals new dog owners fork out almost £5,000 in first year

A poll of 2,300 UK pet owners, conducted by Nationwide Home Insurance, revealed that we pay an average of £3,500 to cover the initial starting costs of owning a pet, as well as ongoing monthly bills. For dog owners, it's estimated they pay around £4,791 in year one - twice as much as cat owners.

Food, bedding and toys may not seem like much on their own, but it all adds up in the end and as we're a nation of pet lovers, we want what's best for our four-legged friends. The average amount spent on a pet comes to just £147, one in five owners spend more than £250. The poll showed horses (£2,322), dogs (£591), lizards (£324) and guinea pigs (£283) are the most expensive animals to purchase.

And as any pet owner will know, the impact on household finances continues once the animal becomes part of the family. The research shows Brits spend around £3,024 per year - £252 each month - on their ongoing care, including items such as food, vet bills, treats, toys and pet insurance.

To fund these expensive yet amazing companions, half of the poll takers (54%) said they saved to cover the initial cost but nearly one in ten admitted to using a credit card. More than a third (38%) fund the ongoing costs using their savings.

The cost also includes damages incurred from an overactive pup. The insurance provider, which offers cover for accidental damage caused by a pet as standard on their Home Insurance, discovered one in seven owners are without insurance. Of those who did make a claim, 7% of cases were damaged carpets and 5% were replacing chewed wires, damaged sofas and chairs, scratched furnishings and broken TVs.

Rob Angus, Nationwide’s Head of General Insurance, comments, "Owning an animal can be extremely rewarding, but a very expensive experience. Given a pet is for life, it’s important to plan ahead and budget for the potential costs involved, otherwise animal ownership could turn into a financial headache.

"Owners already face significant costs getting and looking after the pet without factoring in any damage they may cause. That unexpected cost could be avoided by ensuring adequate level of home insurance cover. Our advice to anyone who has a pet or is looking to give a pet a home is to make sure they are covered, as not all policies include accidental pet damage."