How much do you spend on your dog? Pet pooches cost Brits an average of £1,200 a year

Britain's owners of 8.5 million dogs spend an estimated £10.6 BILLION on their pets every year, according to a new report.

Do you spend a small fortune on your pet?
Do you spend a small fortune on your pet?

The average owner splashes out £1,252 annually on their four-legged friend.

On top of food and vet bills, some besotted owners even pay for 'pawlates' - Pilates for dogs.

The study by American Express shows the pooch care boom has triggered a rise in the number of small businesses springing up to cater for the rising demand.

A survey of 1,000 dog owners revealed that six in ten use small independent businesses when shopping for their pets.

Over a quarter said they spend more money on their pets now than they did five years ago.

The research found that, on average, owners spent £393.48 a year on dog food - the biggest single cost.

Other necessary expenditure included insurance (£243.24) and vet bills and medicines (£73.33).

The remaining £541.46 spent on average per pooch went on toys, professional grooming, kennels, clothing and accessories.

Average spending

Toys and Treats £183.96

Grooming (shampoo, trimming fur massage etc.) £177.84

Exercise - dog walkers £122.16

Accommodation - kennels or day care £31.17

Clothing/Accessories and bedding £26.33

When it comes to birthdays, over a third buy their pup a cake and six in ten get them a gift.

American Express conducted the survey ahead of Small Business Saturday on 3rd December.

Alice Noone, Vice President Marketing at American Express said that the research highlighted "the role these small independent shops play in maintaining the health and happiness of our family pets".