Dogs cost twice as much as cats in the first year with owners spending nearly £5,000

Stephen Walter
Food, bedding, toys, equipment and insurance set dog owners back £4,791 on average in the first 12 months, while cat owners typically spend  £2,455 - Corbis Documentary

Dogs cost twice as much as cats in the first year, according to a new study which suggests owners typically spend more than £4,700.

Food, bedding, toys, equipment and insurance set dog owners back £4,791 on average - including buying the animal in the first place.

The research revealed new cat owners in comparison will spend around £2,455 in the first 12 months - much more than cheaper alternatives like rabbits (£1,802) and fish (£769).

Pets | How much do they cost?

Horses cost the most, the study by Nationwide Home Insurance, found, forcing owners to shell out a staggering £12,654. The average spent in the first 12 months of owning a pet was £3,500.

Rob Angus, Nationwide's head of general insurance, said: "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."

Remarkably, one in eight of the 2,300 pet owners surveyed (12 per cent) claimed they love their pet more than their partner.

In order to save enough money beforehand to cover costs, more than half (54 per cent) put money aside and one in 10 (9 per cent) use a credit card to fund the ongoing costs of their animals.

A further two fifths (38 per cent) dipped into their savings.

Of those who have claimed on their home insurance due to an accident caused by a pet, seven per cent said the carpet had been damaged, five per cent said sofas and chairs had been damaged and another five per cent claimed the TV had been broken.

Figures released by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) last week showed a record £706 million in pet insurance claims was paid in 2016.

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