Cost Of Owning A Pet Rising At 4.2% A Year As The Nation Spends £5.43 Billion On Pets

03 September 2013

New research from Sainsbury’s Bank reveals that 49% of people now have a cat or dog, compared to 42% in 2011(1), and the average annual cost of owning a pet has risen by 4.2% a year since 2008(2). Sainsbury’s Bank estimates owners spend around £5.43 billion a year on their pets(3).

The supermarket bank is warning that one of the main reasons for the rising cost of owning a pet is increasing veterinary expenses due to advances in treatment and it is concerned there could be a rise in incidences where owners cannot afford to pay for veterinary care, or have to choose an inferior course of treatment because of costs.

Over the next five years, 96% of vets expect vet fees to rise(4). The Bank’s research highlights that many pet insurance policies are not providing levels of vet fee cover that are keeping up with rising vet fees.  Its findings reveal that the majority of per condition policies (which provide a maximum level of cover per condition, without time limit) offer less than £3,000 per condition. The £13,000 cover per condition offered by Sainsbury’s Bank is one of the highest available on the market for this type of policy(3).

Other types of pet insurance policy are also failing to keep up with rising vet fees; the Bank’s research(1) reveals that since 2008, vet fee cover on policies with time limits has fallen by 9.6%.

Scott Gorman, Head of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance said: “When we shop for ourselves and our families, we expect great quality products and value for money but above all we expect products that are fit for purpose. It is therefore essential that you choose a pet policy with adequate cover for your needs.

“The veterinary profession has made huge advances in diagnosis and treatment including the treatment of chronic conditions and this is expected to continue, so picking the right policy that will provide peace of mind that vet bills will be covered has never been more important.”

To help its customers with rising vet fees, Sainsbury’s Bank has re-launched its pet insurance proposition and is now offering three different types of policies with cover against vet fees of between £3,000 and £13,000.  After choosing the level of vet fee cover, customers can also opt to add on one, two or all three additional benefit packages:

Scott added: “Our research reveals that many insurance policies have not increased their cover to reflect rising vet fees and more owners are therefore at risk of being under-insured. In the past 12 months alone, 63% of vets have come across cases where they had to administer a treatment that was not their preferred choice because owners had inadequate insurance(5).”

In addition to the large number of pet owners who have had to pay medical expenses due to insufficient cover, an estimated 69% of cats and 48% of dogs in the UK are not insured(6).

The Bank’s findings reveal that on average dog owners spend £32.70 a month on food; £9.10 on treats and presents and £5.80 on grooming and walking, for example.  The corresponding figures for cat owners are £27.20, 40p and £1.40 respectively(1).


Example monthly expenditure figures(1) Average estimated monthly spend on a dog Average estimated monthly spend on a cat
Food £32.70 £27.20
Presents / treats £9.10 £0.40
Routine vet treatments which are not usually covered by Pet Insurance such as worming, nail clipping or spaying £10.20 £8.40
Grooming/walking £5.80 £1.40
Kennels £2.90 £2.30


For further information about Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance call 0808 172 6502, visit or pick up a leaflet in-store at Sainsbury’s.


For further information, please contact:

Tom Wilson/Ian Morris                                                                           Lorna Gilmour

Citigate Dewe Rogerson                                                                        Sainsbury’s Bank

0207 282 2842                                                                                       0131 338 2863


Notes to Editors:

(1) ICM interviewed a random sample of 2021 adults aged 18+ in GB online between 7th – 8th Aug 2013 and 2030 adults aged 18+ in GB online between 8th – 10th April 2011. Both surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at

(2) ONS August CPI data (Average annual increase over since 2008)

(3) ONS Family Spending Report 2012

(4) Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned telephone interviews with 76 UK vets, conducted 5th, 6th August 2013

(5) Average cover statistics based on market analysis conducted on behalf of Sainsbury’s Bank by Independent Research Company Defaqto, 8th August 2013

(6) PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report (2011)



Sainsbury’s Bank’s new pet insurance offers core cover that focuses on veterinary fees, which are responsible for the majority of all pet insurance claims it receives. This is available at three levels: Standard (£3,000 vet cover per condition for 12 months); Premier (£7,500 vet cover per condition); and Premier Plus (£13,000 vet cover per condition).  All three policies also provide cover for overseas veterinary treatment; complementary treatment; physiotherapy and behavioural problems.


Customers can also choose from three different sets of additional features:

Customers can select one, two or all three of these additional features, depending on their individual requirements.

Allianz is the underwriter of Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance.

Sainsbury’s Bank:

To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Bank online media centre at

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Bank provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times. Our products consistently top best buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

So far in 2013, the Bank has been awarded ‘Personal Loan Provider of the Year’ – Consumer Moneyfacts, ‘Best Loan Provider’ – Money Supermarket Supers and ‘Best Credit Card for Rewards’ – Moneynet and ‘Best Card Provider’ – Moneyfacts.

Sainsbury’s Bank has its own banking licence, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514), except for Credit Cards and Loans where it is licensed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) license no. 421897. The Bank has an independent membership to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Allianz Insurance:

Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, one of the leading integrated financial services providers worldwide and the largest property and casualty insurer in the world.

With approximately 144,000 employees worldwide, the Allianz Group serves approximately 78 million customers in more than 70 countries. The mission of Allianz Insurance is to be the outstanding competitor in our chosen markets by delivering products and services that our clients recommend, being a great company to work for and achieving the best combination of profit and growth.