Go.Compare: Animal lovers spend £431.2 million every year cleaning up after their pets

Cornwall leads the charge in tackling dog fouling – issuing the most fines of any county council

Preventative treatments set pet owners back approximately £193 per year

Go.Compare calculates the cost of essential pet purchases

Dog and cat owners spend around £431.2 million cleaning up after their pets’ bathroom habits every year.[1] Over the average dog’s lifetime, an owner will fork out around £175.20 on dog waste bags, while a house cat owner spends approximately £60 a year on cat litter.
In a new report, Go.Compare Pet Insurance has calculated the cost of picking up after the nation’s pets. An estimated 11 million cats live in the UK, and around 41% of owners keep their cats solely indoors.[2][3] This means house cat owners spend a whopping £270.6 million each year on cat litter.[1]
Meanwhile, the average dog owner uses 730 waste bags per year. This means there’s a total average of eight billion dog waste bags bought every year to service the estimated pooch population of 11 million.[2] This equates to UK dog parents spending a massive £160.6 million annually on dog waste bags alone.
Failing to clean up after a canine is illegal, and not doing so could land pet owners with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of up to £100[4] – equivalent to the price of 5,000 dog waste bags.[1] Despite this, some owners still avoid their responsibilities, causing councils to take matters into their own hands.
Cornwall is leading the charge on this problem, issuing the most fines to delinquent dog owners in 2022, with 53 penalties in total.[5] According to Freedom of Information (FOI) data from each county council, the residents of Bassetlaw in north Nottinghamshire received 31 fines, while Barsnley gave out 28 over the year. Those that issued the least FPNs included Liverpool, Cheshire, and several London boroughs. 11 councils only issued a single fine for the whole of 2022.
In some cases, however, dog lovers aren’t owning up to not dealing with their dog’s deeds. At the time the FOI request was made, only four of the 22 fines issued in Merton, London, had been paid, while in North Tyneside, there were eight outstanding fines.
Waste bags aren’t the only essential pet purchase owners have to deal with. The insurance comparison site also worked out how much preventative treatments can cost pet owners. Medicines not covered by pet insurance, such as flea and worm treatments, should be applied regularly to cats and dogs to stay on top of problems. Administered monthly, this can cost pet owners almost £200 per year.[1]
Ceri McMillan, pet insurance expert at Go.Compare, said: “Being a pet owner is as big a commitment financially, as it is of your time and effort. That’s why budding pet parents need to be aware of all of the costs upfront, so they can budget accordingly and give their furry friends the best care possible. Consider all the essential costs that you can’t go without – even dog waste bags! Of course, this is a small price to pay compared to a fine for not picking up after your dog, and keeping your local area clean and safe is the most important thing.
“Getting pet insurance is as essential as any other part of pet ownership, as it gives you peace of mind that you’ll be covered for vet costs should your pet need future treatment. Although it’s dependent upon several factors, the average premium for dogs aged one to five is just £19.68 a month, and for cats, it can be as little as £10.84, so it’s simply not worth skipping out on.[6]”
More information about the mucky reality of pet parenthood, including the total time spent on these dirtier duties, can be found on Go.Compare’s website.
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