True costs of pet ownership revealed

From food, to flea collars; training to kennels; vet bills to tennis balls, the true costs of owning a pet can often surprise even the most prepared of owners. Tesco Pet Insurance has found that many owners still vastly underestimate the lifetime costs of pet ownership. 1 in 4 dog owners and 1 in 3 cat owners believe their pets will cost no more than £1,000 over their entire lifetime1, when in fact the actual cost can be up to £31,000 for a dog and up to £17,000 for a cat2.

Feeding your pet accounts for over one third of the costs incurred by owners, as does vet bills which are another area of concern for owners. New research from Tesco Pet Insurance has found that more than half of all UK pet owners are concerned about the cost of taking their pet to the vet. More than 9million3 people are worried about the cost of a regular check-up, and 10.5million4 people are concerned about vet bills for emergency care. It is understandable that this is a major concern for customers, given each year one in every three pets needs some sort of veterinary care5.

Tesco Pet Insurance customers, Paula & Steve Butcher, are one such example. Paula wanted an addition to their family so they bought Fynn, a first cross bedlington whippet. Fynn was a happy and healthy puppy, however, Paula noticed one day that Fynn had developed a sore nose, and what was initially thought to be a scratch caused by running into bushes and playing turned out to be far more serious.

Paula took Fynn to the vet, where he was initially given a course of antibiotics, but when that didn’t help the vet did further tests and found he had a mast cell tumour on his nose and lip. It left Paula & Steve Butcher completely shocked, as Fynn was less than two years old and such a tumour is extremely rare.

Speaking about Fynn’s illness, Paula says, 

"We are fortunate that Fynn has pet insurance and was covered for up to £7,500 worth of vet’s fees. If Fynn hadn’t been insured with Tesco Pet Insurance6, it would have been impossible for us to pay for his treatment and we probably would have had to make the awful decision to put him to sleep.  Thankfully this didn’t happen, and we are delighted that he is now in remission."

To help pet owners such as Paula and Steve, Tesco Pet Insurance has today launched a ‘Free Vet Check’ for cats and dogs, worth up to £35 for every customer who spends £10 or more on any pet products at all Tesco stores or online at The offer runs until 5th May and will allow pet owners to redeem a completely free vet check-up for their cat or dog. The vet checks will be carried out by a network of hundreds of vets across the UK.

Karl Bedlow, Managing Director at Tesco Bank Insurance, said,

"We’re really excited to be able to help pet owners reduce the cost of visiting the vet with this offer. As Paula and Steve’s story shows, pets can need veterinary care at any time and any age, and the costs of this can be unexpected and worrying. Our customers have told us that this issue concerns them, which is why we are delighted to launch the Free Vet Check offer today. Prevention is better than cure, so why not take advantage of the offer and get your pet checked over by a vet today."

Last year, Tesco Pet Insurance paid out almost £50million in pet insurance claims. In 2014, we;

  • Helped 893 pets who had been involved in a road traffic accidents;
  • Helped fix 3,907 wounds;
  • Paid £2.6m for the Theo Walcott’s of the dog world, with torn or ruptured cruciate ligaments;
  • Helped 1,300 cats who didn’t land on their feet, with accidents, injuries and fractures;
  • Helped to hide the blushes of the 5 dogs who were attacked by cats7.

More information on Tesco Pet Insurance can be found at


For more information and media enquiries please contact:

Tesco Bank press office

+44 (0) 131 274 3630 

Notes to Editors: 

Free Vet Check additional terms & conditions:

The Free Vet Check is not intended to replace any appointment your pet may require to address a known medical condition.  If your pet is presented in need of medical attention, you may be advised to book a paid for appointment to address this issue before you can claim your Free Vet Check.

This Tesco exclusive offer in partnership with Tesco Pet Insurance runs from 15th April 2015 to 5th May 2015. Receive a Free Vet Check, at participating vets, worth up to £35 for a cat or dog when you spend £10 or more on any pet products in store, or online at There is 94% coverage within 20 miles of all Tesco Superstores, Extras and Metros.

One valid coupon per pet per household, up to a maximum of 3 valid coupons per household. The voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other Tesco offer and is not transferable. No cash alternative is available. For full terms and conditions and information on how to redeem your Free Vet Check, visit This offer is excluded from Northern Ireland and Isle of Man. Subject to availability. See shelf edge for details.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.


Research undertaken by eDigital Research on behalf of Tesco Bank. Data generated on 15th October 2014, (1,003 respondents) and data generated between 21st and 24thNovember (1,020 responses)

1 PDSA Big Pet Report – PAW Report 2014 p.38

2 PDSA Big Pet Report – PAW Report 2014 p.38

3Figure calculated by taking the total number of pets in the UK as 17million (according to PFMA statistics) and according to our research 55% of all pet owners are worried about the costs of regular check-ups.

4Figure calculated by taking the total number of pets in the UK as 17million (according to PFMA statistics). 

85% of these pets are uninsured (according to Association of British Insurers) which results in 14,450,000 uninsured animals. Our research tells us that 74% of uninsured owners are concerned about the cost of emergency vet fees, which equals 10,693,000 concerned pet owners.

5Pet Health Council statistics

6Mr and Mrs Butcher hold an Extra cover level policy

7Tesco Bank claims statistics, 2014

About Us:

Tesco Bank’s goal is to make banking and insurance easier and better value for people who shop at Tesco. We’ve been around since 1997 and today we help more than 5 million customers manage their money every day. Our 4,000 colleagues serve our customers seven days a week from our three main centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle, and we are also available through online and mobile banking 24/7. Tesco Bank participates in the Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board.

Tesco Bank is a trading name of Tesco Personal Finance plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC173199. Registered Office: 2 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9FQ

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