Electric shock collars for dogs and cats are set to be banned, Environment Secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce this week.

Used as training devices, the remote controlled collars can trigger an electric pulse of varying strength, or spray noxious chemicals at the animal.

Mr Gove, who has described Britain as a "nation of animal lovers", is imminently poised to reveal the move to prohibit their sale, the Mail on Sunday has reported.

The newspaper said the Environment Secretary has branded the collars as "punitive devices" which "can cause harm and suffering, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to our pets".

Use of the collars has been banned in Wales, and earlier this year Scotland began moves towards prohibiting dog owners using them.

But it is only the UK Government which can ban their sale across the country.

Ministers launched a public consultation on the issue in March.

The devices cause dogs to yelp, squeal, crouch and exhibit physiological signs of distress, the Dogs Trust has previously said.

And despite being sold to improve the way dogs behave, they can worsen the animal's behaviour, the charity stressed.

Polling for the Dogs Trust earlier this year showed almost a third of people (31%) wrongly thought the collars, which can continuously shock a dog for 11 seconds, were already banned.

The poll of 2,067 adults by Populus also found that 84% knew they caused pain and 83% of dog owners would not use them.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson was among MPs who pledged their support to calls for a ban by the charity in February, and compared their use to caning a child.