Power of the pooch pound

Power of the pooch pound

British dog owners estimate they spend around £1,252 annually on their beloved pets according to new research by American Express; and small businesses across the UK are capitalising on the boom.

As the Great British Pound weakens post-EU referendum, the ‘pooch pound’ is performing stronger than ever.

According to new research by American Express, British dog owners spend an average of £1,252 annually on their pet, equating to over £10.64bn.

From those who have taken to organising dog birthday parties, holding puppy training classes and “pawlates” – Pilates for dogs – through to traditional services such as vets and grooming, the national obsession with “man’s best friend” has created a whole new canine economy.

And the nations small businesses are spearheading the canine revolution. Over half (62%) of the nation’s dog owners interviewed by American Express said they use small independent businesses when shopping for their pets.

The most popular reasons for consumers using small businesses included the quality of service (46%) and the fact that the shop keeper knows their pet and can find the best product for them (25%).

One of the businesses seeing growth because of this consumer boom is Hair of the Dog, a specialist grooming salon and concept boutique based in London’s Highgate.

The business offers a wide range of services from a hand stripping service, a full groom, wash & dry or a nail clipping only service; alongside a dog day care and a unique pet portraiture commission service.      

Manager Holly Johnson said: “One of the benefits of being a small business is that we can talk to our customers on a daily basis, ensuring that we’re constantly up to date with what they need so we can offer the best service and products for happy, healthy pets.

“We’re also able to source unique products which aren’t readily available on the high street, giving local pet owners a reason to come to us.

“As a result, we have a built a very loyal customer base over the years - those who have been with us since launching in 2010 and those who have joined since.”

Also, it’s not only traditional methods of dog care such as grooming that are leading the consumer splurge on pet care.

Breaking down the overall spend, the research found that, on average, dog owners spent £393.48 a year on dog food – the biggest single cost.

The other necessary expenditure was on insurance (£243.24 a year) and their dog’s health (vet bills and medicines coming in at an average £73.33 annually).

That means that the remaining £541.46 spent on average per pooch annually is discretionary. Those costs include toys, professional grooming, kennels, clothing and accessories.


Average cost

Toys and Treats


Grooming (shampoo, trimming fur massage etc.)


Exercise – dog walkers


Accommodation – kennels or day care


Clothing/Accessories and bedding


Dogs are also the most likely to be treated by their owners with 45% regularly buying gifts for their furry friends.

Owners also love to keep their pooches looking their best all year around, with 1 in 10 of dog owners (10%) ensuring their dogs are groomed at least once a week.

And when it comes to birthdays, 35% of owners will buy their pup a birthday cake and 59% will get them a gift.