on primetime TV

UPDATE: Pets Undercover is now showing on ITV1, Monday 16th March, 8pm. and ‘Pets Undercover’ on the Tonight Programme, ITV1 – Monday 9th March, 8pm.’s co-founder, vet Marc Abraham helps Tonight presenter Jonathan Maitland and his dog Monty investigate whether some vets are overcharging and recommending unnecessary procedures to pet owners, and if vet bills really need to be so high.

Nearly half of all British households have a pet – with the favourite being the loveable pooch.

But if you’re like Tonight presenter Jonathan Maitland, whose dog Monty costs £2000 a year to keep, it may feel like the bills are excessive.

In these tough financial times, animal refuge homes are reporting that pets are being abandoned in record numbers. In the last five years, more than one and half million pets have been put down – because their owners can’t afford them.

One of the biggest costs are vet bills, and in a specially commissioned Tonight survey carried out by K9 Media – 76 per cent of dog owners said the cost of keeping their pet healthy has become too expensive.

In this programme, the Tonight team takes Monty the dog, Rupert the rabbit and Mickey the cat on mystery shopping visits to find out the truth about vet bills.

Tonight exposes how the cost of medical procedures and medications can vary considerably from practice to practice and discovers that some vets are prepared to recommend expensive treatment that is completely unnecessary.

The programme meets one devoted pet owner that has paid £15,000 for treatments for her dog (only £4,000 of which was covered by pet insurance) and reveals how she is paying a 250 per cent mark-up on medication sold to her by her vet.

Marc Abraham passionately believes in putting pet before profit. It was this that led him to set up, a free website which allows pet owners to rate and review pet-friendly businesses – including vets – to help others find the best for their pet.

Marc Abraham said:

‘As co-founder of, working on such a worthwhile project was a dream come true. In my experience, clients generally don’t mind how much they pay for their poorly pets as long as they get good value for money and their pet only receives necessary treatments.

‘I want to make sure the public knows there are many, many fantastic vets out there who will always put your pet first and deliver great customer service every time.

‘Exploitation of pet owners can only result in higher fees and negative client–vet interactions. This will ultimately lead to reduced trips to the vet, an increase in abandonment and falling ownership rates. The long-term knock on effects for the UK pet industry could be disastrous.

‘By making pet-owners aware that there is a range of services out there, we are one step closer to ensuring Britain continues to responsibly own their pets well into the future.’


Beat the credit crunch and help pets in rescue with is calling on all animal lovers to consider the canine victims of the credit crunch this Christmas as rescue centres reach breaking point. Christmas is always a busy time in rescue but long before the season got underway this year many big centres were operating a waiting list system for admissions.

Parliament has already stepped up in support of pets as MP Bob Spink tabled an Early Day Motion on animal welfare, championing organisations such as for promoting responsible pet ownership nationwide.

Bob has two rescue ex-racing Greyhounds himself – Fossie Bear and Jessica – and was extremely concerned to hear the news that re-homing at The Retired Greyhound Trust is down a whopping 47 per cent on this time last year.

The credit crunch has resulted in thousands of panicking owners giving up on their pets for fear of even greater economic trouble but co-founder and TV vet Marc Abraham is urging people to please reconsider.

“Pet ownership doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d think,” says Marc. “There are some really easy ways to cut the cost of pet care, such as replacing expensive commercial dog food with a healthy diet of home-made pasta and vegetables. People who may be considering taking on a rescue pet could be put off by worries of extra financial commitment but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.”

If you are bogged down with money worries, the last thing you want to do is get rid of the ultimate stress-buster. Just stroking a pet reduces tension and lowers blood pressure and walking a dog for just two 30 minute walks a day will burn off as many calories as a gym workout – without the expensive membership.

Marc is a firm believer in the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ and is urging the public not to forget those poor dogs in rescue shelters over the festive season by thinking of ways to spread a little Christmas cheer.

Marc continues, “Think about bringing a pet into your life this Christmas. Maybe not by actually re-homing one if it’s not practical but by visiting a rescue centre and taking a dog out for a walk, or by dropping in a gift to brighten up a lonely Christmas in kennels.”