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

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New research(1) from Sainsbury's Pet Insurance estimates 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.

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Looking after a pet dog or cat properly can involve a significant financial commitment.

New research(1) from Sainsbury's Pet Insurance estimates 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.

The average annual cost of owning a dog is currently £1,183(4) 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(1).

Meanwhile, the current average annual cost of owning a cat is a slightly lower £1,028(4) but this could increase to an annual cost of £1,270 in 15 years' time(1) - 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(1).

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance's research(4) 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(5), 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(2). However the average level of vet fee cover for cats and dogs can be around half(6) 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(6).

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 call 0800 434 6359, log on to http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/ or pick up a leaflet in a Sainsbury's supermarket.

Notes to Editors:
(1)Based on analysis of research commissioned by Sainsbury's Finance and carried out by ICM Research (2030 British adults were questioned via online omnibus between 8th and 10th April 2011), analysis of ONS Family Spending Reports 2005-2006 to 2009, and the life expectancy of a dog and cat in the UK.

The ICM research provides us with the current annual cost of own a dog and cat (£1,183 and £1,028 respectively)

The ONS Family Spending data tells us the average annual increase in the cost of owning a pet between 2005 and 2009 is 1.52%.

The average life expectancy of a dog is 13 years to the nearest year (http://www.vetinfo.com/dog-life-span.html)

The average life expectancy of a cat is 15 years (http://www.vetinfo.com/lifetime-cost-cat-medical-care.html)

So the lifetime cost of owning a dog is calculated by taking the current annual cost (£1,183) and increasing this by 1.52% every year (compound) for its life expectancy (Y1 = £1,183, Y2 = £(£1,183 x 1.0152), Y3 = and so on). By this method the annual cost in the final year of the dog's life will be £1,418, which is 20% higher than the current annual cost of £1,183.

The annual cost of a cat is calculated using the same methodology but over 15 years rather than 13 years. By this method the annual cost in the final year of the cat's life will be £1,270, which is 23.5% higher than the current annual cost of £1,028.

(2) Sainsbury's Pet Insurance offers two different levels of cover to suit different requirements; option 2 covers vets fees for up to £7,500 per condition. For full product details and terms and conditions see http://www.sainsburysfinance.co.uk/

(3) Offer is only available to new customers and to achieve the full 25% discount customers must have a Nectar card. See http://www.sainsburysfinance.co.uk/ for full terms and conditions.

(4) Based on analysis of research commissioned by Sainsbury's Finance and carried out by ICM Research(. 2,030 British adults were questioned via online omnibus between 8th and 10th April 2011).

(5) Datamonitor- UK Pet Insurance Report 2010 (Dec 2010) http://www.datamonitor.com/store/Product/uk_pet_insurance_2010?productid=CM00015-004

(6) Sainsbury's Finance commissioned Defaqto to carry out this research on 10th March 2011.
Sainsbury's Pet Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Sainsbury's Finance:
To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury's Finance online media centre at http://www.sainsburysfinance.co.uk/media.

Sainsbury's Finance offers a range of quality, competitively priced, award-winning products. It opened for business on 19th February 1997 and was the UK's first supermarket bank. It is a 50:50 joint venture with Sainsbury's and Lloyds Banking Group.

Sainsbury's Finance offers the following products: Credit Cards and Loans, a range of Savings products and Car Insurance, Life Insurance, Home Insurance, Travel Insurance and Pet Insurance

For further information and general Sainsbury's Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit http://www.sainsburysfinance.co.uk/

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