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BRITONS SPEND £73 million a month on dog grooming, gifts and treats for their dogs, according to research which found that the nation’s 5.3 million dog-owners spend an average of £13.76 each per dog.

Nearly a third of dog owners pay for dog manicures and grooming, 2 % buy designer accessories and 8 % go so far as to commission a portrait of their dog. The favourite purchase, though, is still a squeaky toy, the choice of four fifths of dog-lovers. Half of those questioned, in a survey of 820 people conducted by for Lloyds TSB Insurance, allow their dog to share their bed, while only 4 % of the pets were made to sleep outside the home. Only 4 to 5 % said they were likely to treat friends or family with spontaneous gifts — twice as many liked to buy presents to surprise their dog.

Phil Loney, the managing director of Lloyds TSB Insurance, said: "Britain is a nation of dog lovers and the fact that people are spending thousands on dog pampering and treats is testament to that."