The battle between wet and dry dog and catfood was well documented when we covered the market back in 2001, with dry foods making the biggest impact.

According to TNS, while wet dogfood was still the largest category, thanks to the dominance of canned products, dry complete foods were growing ahead of the market.

Premium products, meanwhile, were driving the catfood category, which experienced a 2.5% growth year-on-year, despite volume declining by 0.18%. A move towards single-serve formats, such as the pouch and the tray, was behind this value growth, with pouches in particular commanding twice the market share than the previous year.

Yet it was pet owners pampering their pets that resulted in the biggest gains for manufacturers, with the snacks and treats category growing at 14.4% in value to £129m.

In fact, according to pet specialist Cork International, its bestselling treat for dogs at the time was pigs' ears.

"Dogs love them," said brand manager Andy Mills. "It is like dog cocaine. Humans aren't so keen - in fact they are quite put off because they look just like pigs' ears - but the product is bought in resealable packs so they aren't so offended."

The company said it was now turning its attention to treats that provided health benefits as well.

Other unusual petfoods were starting to make their way into the category as pet owners got more adventurous about what to feed their beloved animals. Wagg Foods, for example, had recently launched a Delishus dog gravy, which it claimed made dry dogfood much more palatable.

The gravy, which came packaged in a similar bottle to ketchup, was designed to be added to any dogfood in a similar fashion as ketchup is applied to chips.