PET owners spend an average of £240 on their dog and £100 on their cat each month, according to a new study.

The study, carried out by insurance company, More Than, looks at the state of the nation’s pets based on a survey of 10,000 owners across the UK.

More than £24bn is spent on dogs and £9.6bn on cats in the UK each year.

Food is the biggest monthly expense with dog owners forking out £58 each month compared to £36 for cat owners.

Dog owners spend £34 on treats and £27 on toys each month with cat owners spending £12 and £9 respectively.

Other costs include professional grooming, dog walkers, pet insurance, medication and vets’ bills.

Worryingly, 58% of dog owners and 83% of cat owners failed to do research into how much their pet would cost ahead of owning it.

The survey also revealed that 60% of dog owners have no insurance for their pooch in comparison to 30% of cat owners.

On average, dog owners said they’d be willing to spend up to £1,271 on vet fees and cat owners an average of £767.

More than half of people surveyed said they would dip into their savings to pay for unexpected treatment for their pet, 39% would use a credit card and 26% would take out a loan, while 8% said they would be forced to have their pet put down.

Andrew Moore, director of pet claims at More Than, said: “The NHS provides a free health service for humans, but there is no safety net for our pets. Since there is no frame of reference, vet bills can appear high and come as an unaffordable shock to many owners when their pet is taken sick. The average car accident repair is £1,944 and people wouldn’t dream of not being insured, but some of the claims costs we see for pets can exceed this and yet the lack of awareness of this financial risk means that many pet owners don’t think they need pet insurance.

"Vets and insurers must play their part in making these costs manageable, through affordable premiums and keeping medical inflation as low as possible."