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(Updated 7/9/01)

Britain's pets are hooked on TV!


ACCORDING TO a recent survey carried out by Currys, man's best friends are becoming telly addicts.

Almost one third of pet owners questioned said their pets regularly watch TV and that they even had their favourite soaps. Coronation Street was the most popular in the Animal Kingdom (45%) with EastEnders hot on its heels (33%). Emmerdale was in third place (13%) closely followed by The Bill (9%).

Around 60% of pet owners, particularly dog owners, blamed the catchy theme tunes for their pet's addiction. It would appear that wide-screen TVs and digital stereo sound not only appeal to humans, but their furry friends too.

Favourite

According to the majority of pet owners interviewed, pets bound into the sitting room barking or meowing when they hear the theme tune to their favourite programme.

Survey results show North West pet owners have reared the largest population of pet TV addicts, with just under 40% regularly watching the box (more than four hours per week), whereas North East pets were less interested in TV with only 25% watching it regularly.

According to pet psychologist, Julie Quinn, pet feeding times are key to developing TV addictions. "Eating habits are key to a pet's interest in TV," said Julie. "Often owners will make the pets dinner whilst watching say EastEnders and pets associate certain theme tunes with dinner time. This is not something pet owners should be concerned about so long as it's not interfering with food or exercise routine.

Routine

"Pets like routine and this is obviously shaped by their owner's daily activity. Pet owners who watch TV regularly at specific times, particularly regular soap viewers, have a huge influence on their pets. Pets don't like to be ignored, which is why dogs will often position themselves directly in line of the TV so they will be noticed. Pets can react to TV in all sorts of ways and this is normally stimulated by familiar sounds, quick movements or memorising their owner's reactions to certain programmes which is why dogs will bark if owners get excited."

Euan Sutherland, Head of Marketing for Currys, said: "As our lives are becoming increasingly focused around technology, our pet's home habits are also changing drastically. It's no wonder with the introduction of large screen TVs and surround sound that pets are becoming more involved with the television."