British pet owners spent more than £1bn on accessories for their dogs last year, according to new research.

The average Brit spent an average of £76.13 per dog on so-called ‘petcessories’, or non-essential items, the research from Direct Line Pet Insurance revealed.

Young owners are the most likely to splash out on accessories for their pets, with 18 to 34-year-olds spending an average of £83.98 on each dog, compared to over 55s, who spent £60.26 on average.

Brits really are a nation of dog lovers, choosing to spend their hard-earned cash on making their beloved pooches comfortable

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance, Direct Line
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Just over a quarter (26%) – or 3.6m – of British dog owners spend more than £100 a year while 6% of dogs had owners who really pushed the boat out, spending more than £200 on them.

The research, carried out by Opinium Research online, polled 2,001 UK adults then based results on the total UK population of 50.9m, of whom 27% own a dog.

It found that British dog owners are showering their pets with love, as well as gifts.

More than half (56%) and spoken to them like they were a child (52%), while 47% let their dog sleep in their bed.

45% have given their dog the same food as them, 37% have shared food with their dog, and 23% have even let their four-legged friend eat from their plate.

Nearly one in five (18%) Brits stick to the UK for holidays so they can take their dog. Image by Sean Lema/Shutterstock.com

37% said they had taken their dog on holiday, 18% had chosen to holiday in the UK so they could take their dog, and 15% had given up a holiday to be with their dog.

Keen to share more than just food and holidays with their pooch, more than a quarter (27%) of dog owners had danced with their dog.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, said: “Brits really are a nation of dog lovers, choosing to spend their hard-earned cash on making their beloved pooches comfortable.

“The fact that so many of us are choosing holidays which allow us to keep our pets with us is another indicator of the lengths we’re willing to go to keep our dogs happy. 

“Dog owners should remember, though, that they don’t need to spend a fortune on items like clothes, cushions and collars – as long as they provide their dog with a healthy diet, regular fresh water, treatment when needed, exercise and love, they will have a happy dog.”

Separate research, carried out by Direct Line in partnership with K9 Magazine, has also revealed the amount Brits spend on birthday and Christmas presents for their dogs. 

Nearly two thirds (63%) spend around £15 on a present, 20% spend £16-30 for their dog on each occasion and 5% spend £31-£60.