Dog owners could be spending as much as £1,495 a year on day care equating to £16,746 over their dog’s lifetime, likely to only increase with the rising cost of living, according to research from Sainsbury’s Bank. 

This comes as nearly one third (30%) of Brits have increased the number of days they go into the office or place of work, compared to last year, creating additional costs for dog owners.

Sainsbury’s Bank has compiled the costs of owning a dog to help owners and ‘would-be’ owners budget for their pets and look for ways to reduce costs and mitigate against any unforeseen expenses such as surprise bills should their pet fall ill or have an accident.  The Bank pays 98% of claims4 and can pay the vet directly so the owner is never out of pocket, letting them focus on looking after their pet.

With nearly a quarter of pet owners (24%) getting their pet during lockdown and even more (26%) worried about the costs of owning a pet due to the rising cost of living, the RSPCA has recently warned about the number of pets being re-homed.

Having pet insurance can provide peace of mind. Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance provides Vet Assistance, day or night with unlimited 24/7 Vet Assistance, giving access to qualified, UK-based vet nurses.

Pet Insurance assists with unexpected vet costs and can help pet owners manage their outgoings, hopefully meaning they don’t need to dip into their savings or juggle other outgoings if their pet falls ill. Since 2020, the average claim size for a dog with Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance has increased 21% to just over £540 in 2022. Unforeseen accidents or illness can range dramatically in price, in recent years the bank paid out a claim for nearly £12,000 for a dog with a bacterial infection and over £9,000 for a dog with gastrointestinal problems.

However, only about a third (31%) of pet owners have pet insurance – dog owners without pet insurance estimate that their vet bills are costing them on average £431 a year and £4,827 in a lifetime. 

Worryingly, around 12% of pet owners over 55 have cancelled their pet insurance due to cost. And 23% of pet owners under 35 said they wished they’d thought more about the cost of their pet when they returned to work after ‘lockdown’ compared to 13% of over 35s.

Total Estimated Costs of Owning A Dog Per Year:



Day care


Vet bills










Care when you’re away


Replacing broken items






Total cost

£3,829 a year; £42,885 average over a dog’s lifetime

Jason King, Chief Customer Officer at Sainsbury’s Bank has said: “We want to help make sure pet owners and would-be pet owners are aware of the cost of owning a pet, especially those experiencing challenges with the rising cost of living. That’s why we’ve helped create a breakdown on how much pet owners are spending each year, and why having pet insurance is important to protect against unforeseen accident and illness costs.”


Tips To Help Manage Costs:

  • Take quality pet insurance to help protect against unforeseen vet bills – shop around for the right cover for you at a price you can afford
  • Do research for the best pet day care in your area and consider sharing dog-sitting with friends and family on the different days you’re at work
  • Take your time buying pet food, it’s important you buy the right food for your pet’s health, but it’s always worth shopping around and looking for deals and offers as well as seeing if you can earn rewards on your purchase
  • Consider buying second hand equipment and clothing for your pet
  • Share training materials and utilise free online tools
  • Buy products, food and items for your pet in bulk to reduce the overall cost down the line

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance offers a wide range of options so pet owners can select the right cover at a price they can afford, including lifetime insurance. It also provides multi-pet cover and cover in the case of pet theft.

Getting pet insurance can help with the unknown and unanticipated costs of owning a pet, especially when experiencing challenges with the rising cost of living. Sainsbury’s Bank has revealed that 98% of its claims are successful.

For more information and to get a quote for pet insurance, please visit: Sainsbury’s Nectar customers are guaranteed a discount on Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance products.

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