London named as the biggest hotspot across the UK for increased dog ownership

During the first UK lockdown (March-June 2020), saw pet insurance spike by a dramatic 60%, and volumes remained high during the remainder of the year even as restrictions fluctuated.

Now, new research by the insurance comparison experts has revealed that the surge in pet ownership witnessed over the last year has been particularly pronounced in London. In fact, the number of households in London that added a puppy to their families in 2020 was 84% higher than the year before, compared with the same data from 2019.

The South East of England followed, with the second largest spike at 43%, then Scotland at 34%. Wales saw the smallest spike compared to the previous year at just 16%.

However, with such a big increase in the number of pets being added to households during lockdown, including a 101% increase in new pets overall in London, some animal charities are stressing how important it is to think these decisions through beforehand and review the associated costs and time commitments that come with pet ownership. It’s also crucial to research where you get your pet from, checking it is safe and legal and consider the importance of rescuing those who already need a home.

Greg Wilson, Founder of pet insurance comparison website comments: “Almost half of UK households, 44%, are home to pets according to the RSPCA, amounting to more than 12 million pet-owning homes. While many more have made the decision to add a pet to the family during lockdown, it really is important to think through the associated costs, particularly if the new pet happens to be a dog.”

“Research suggests a dog can cost its owner as much as £30,000 during the course of its lifetime, so it should come as no surprise that a pet’s veterinary bills have the potential to be quite sizable if the animal suffers an accident or is diagnosed with an illness. Pets don’t have the NHS to fall back on, of course, so a good pet insurance policy really is the best way to protect your furry friend… and safeguard your finances.”

The breed of dog you decide to buy or adopt can have an impact on the cost of insuring your new pet, because some pedigree breeds are more valuable and are therefore more attractive to thieves – posing a higher insurance risk. Also, some pedigrees have a higher risk of congenital medical conditions or genetic disorders, which could potentially result in higher veterinary bills later down the line.

If you do decide to add a canine family member to your household this year there are a few steps you can take to help keep the costs down:

Ensure they are up to date with vaccinations/booster shots (neutering can help too)
Think about lifestyle – house dogs are less likely to be stolen or run away
Consider opting for a lifetime pet insurance policy, because the higher upfront cost could save you more as your dog ages
Insure multiple animals under the same multi-pet insurance policy will be donating £15,000 across three UK charities this winter – one of which will be the RSPCA, who aim to prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate suffering of all animals.

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