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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 23:05 GMT 00:05 UK
520m a year spent on pets in UK
Dog with owner
Women spend less on buying a dog than men do
Britons splash out about 520m a year on buying pet cats and dogs, but fail to look into the true cost of keeping the animals, a survey suggests.

Dogs are by far the most expensive purchase, at an average of 282 each while cats cost 92.

But 59% of owners fail to look into the upkeep cost of an animal, the Halifax Pet Insurance poll found.

Vets bills alone were drastically underestimated by more than half, the poll of 1,000 people found.

"The cost of upkeep between different breeds can vary enormously both in terms of food required and susceptibility to ailments that necessitate expensive treatment," said Halifax spokeswoman Vicky Watson.

The poll also found a distinct difference between the sexes when it came to pets and spending.

Dogs appeared to live up to the moniker of being man's best friend, with men spending an average of 335 per animal compared with 229 for women.

Women spend more on cats, paying an average of 127 per cat against just 41 spent by men.

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