Pet owners splashed out more than £210m in the past year on pampering their dogs and cats, according to figures published this week by TNS Worldpanel.

The researcher said the total petfood market rose 4% in value to £1.5bn [52 w/e 13 August 2006] with both dogfood and catfood in growth. Much of this increase came from owners spending more on special snacking gifts for their pets, with sales of dog treats up 3.9% and cat treats up 17.2% in value.

Products now available for the estimated 14 million mutts and moggies in the UK range from standard meat snacks to Christmas stockings. A range of fruit puddings is being launched this month, targeting dogs with a sweet tooth.

The growing health agenda in the UK is also having an impact on the petfood market, with the emergence of a number of products containing healthy ingredients such as Omega-3 and probiotic bacteria.