State of Britain's Pet Health Revealed

October 03, 2011

New research by The Co-operative Insurance uncovers the state of Britain's pet population's health, with the figures showing that owners spend a sizeable £326 per year paying for treatment and taking time off work to look after their ill animals.

  • Pet owners spend £326* on average every year looking after ill animals.
  • One in five pets have been taken to the vets in the past year.
  • Winter is the peak season for pet health complaints.

The inaugural survey by the pet insurer, which questioned over 5,000 pet owners, looked at a range of common illnesses and identified in which region pets were most likely to suffer from the complaint and require veterinary treatment.

As well as more traditional pet illnesses, the research reveals that pets are increasingly being treated for conditions commonly associated with humans such as anxiety and depression, obesity and diabetes. Two out of three (60%) pets have required veterinary treatment at least once in their lifetime, whilst one in five (21%) pets have been taken to the vets by worried owners in the past year alone.

Despite this, two out of three (64%) pet owners still don't have pet insurance whilst over a quarter (29%) of pet owners admit to putting off taking their pets to the vets because of the cost.

The lifestyle choices of pet owners may be having an affect on their animal's health with the survey revealing that nearly half (44%) of pet owners regularly feed their pets unhealthy treats with the most common including; biscuits (15%), chocolate (11%), crisps (10%), chips (8%) and cakes (7%).

However many pet owners may soon change their ways with the survey revealing that some pet owners are even taking time off work, on average 1.75 days a year, to care for their ill pets.

The survey has revealed that winter is statistically the peak season for pet health complaints with 37% of owners reporting trips to the vets, with summer following in close second with (34%), spring in third (16%) and Autumn in fourth place (11%).

Nearly a fifth (19%) of pet owners have admitted to suffering from the same condition of their pet at one point in time with the top three shared ailments being; back pain, arthritis and obesity.

Lee Mooney, Head of Pet Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: "The findings clearly illustrate that pets today suffer from a diverse range of illnesses.

"As pets are at the heart of the family, owners are spending considerable amounts of time and money to nurse their animals back to full strength.

"Not only do owners need to take time off work to take their pets to the vets, many are also choosing to forego work by taking emergency leave and booking holidays to care for their pets.

"Veterinary treatment isn't cheap, therefore it is extremely important, especially with winter just around the corner, that pet owners put money aside every month or take out insurance to ensure that their pet doesn't suffer when it is ill because it is too expensive to obtain specialist treatment."

The Co-operative Pet Insurance is available online at or by calling 0800 294 1021.


Notes to Editors

For further information please contact:

Jenna Moss
The Co-operative Banking Group Press Office
Tel: 0161 903 3831 / 07595 567 465
Email :
Twitter: @CoopBankingPR

*Survey conducted by OnePoll in September 2011, questioning 5,000 pet owners


UK Pet Health Map

Health issue Region where this is most common
Cold London
Flu West Midlands
Sore throat East Anglia
Chest infection Wales
Arthritis North East
Back pain East Midlands
Obesity London
Diabetes South West
Laryngitis South East
Heart attack Yorkshire and the Humber
Joint damage East Anglia
Anxiety London
Depression East Midlands
Headache / Migraine London
Thyroid problems London
Cancer North West
Food allergy Wales
Loss of appetite Scotland
Bad breath South East
Tooth erosion London
Heart disease Yourkshire and the Humber
Kidney infection East Anglia
Gallstones East Midlands
Hormonal problems West Midlands

About The Co-operative Banking Group

The Co-operative Banking Group, formerly known as The Co-operative Financial Services, is the banking and insurance arm of The Co-operative Group, which is the world’s largest consumer co-operative with around six million members, over £14 billion turnover, and core business interests in financial services, food, travel, pharmacy and funeral care. The Co-operative Group has over 5,000 retail trading outlets.

Following the merger with Britannia on 1 August 2209, the organisation is one of the largest and most highly diversified mutual businesses operating in both retail and corporate markets.

As part of The Co-operative Group, the business is characterised by its unique ethical and member reward policies and very high levels of customer advocacy.

The Co-operative Banking Group has £70 billion in assets, 12,000 staff and 9,000,000 customers. It has over 300 high street branches, 20 corporate banking centres and major presences in Manchester, Leek, London, Plymouth, Skelmersdale and Stockport.

It is the only mutual organisation that enables its members to earn financial rewards for the products they hold, as well as giving them the opportunity to have a say in how the business is run.