But as prices continue to increase and the squeeze is put on family budgets so too does the cost of owning a dog, and many are wondering if it is a cost too far.
It's great to take your dog for a walk and de-stress at the same time, but your pet needs feeding, watering and there are, of course, vet bills to consider - it all mounts up.
According to a recent survey from Burns Pet Nutrition, the true cost of owning a dog has risen to almost £250 a month and could add up to nearly £40,000 for a pet’s average lifetime.
The new figures have prompted fears that animal lovers may be forced to give up their dogs as the recent cost-of-living crisis starts to set in.
The survey has revealed that pet owners current monthly spending on their dogs includes £50 on food, £35 on insurance and £32 on dog walkers and doggy day-care. Experts are warning that these figures could easily rise by at least ten per cent before the end of the year as inflation and the war in Ukraine pushes up the cost of raw materials and transport.
Burns’ founder and leading veterinary surgeon John Burns urged owners to think carefully before switching to cheaper food for their pets: “Poor-quality pet food is often packed with bulking agents that have no nutritional benefit at all. Dogs fed on those will often produce more poo because their bodies cannot process all the useless ingredients.
“Better quality dog food can often work out just as cost-effective because it is packed with nutrition and the animal needs less of it. There’s the added benefit of less poo to pick up too! You can’t skimp on the care you give an animal and that is an expensive lifetime commitment”.
The amount dog owners spend on things, like food, vets’ bills, kennels, day-care, worming and flee treatments, toys, equipment and training comes to an average of £244 a month, according to a nationwide study of more than 2,000 dog owners.
That is the equivalent of over £3,000 a year or £40,000 plus over the average 14-year lifespan of a dog.
But the research shows that most owners love their pets so much they are prepared to spend whatever it takes to keep them happy and heathy.
Two thirds say their dog is worth every penny, one third say they give it the best of everything, and a quarter say they shamelessly spoil their pet.
More than a quarter say they already make financial sacrifices to own a dog, while a similar number say having one is worth going without holidays or new clothes.