People devoted more time to their pets than their sisters, brothers, grandparents, bosses and the ‘public in general’, according to research published last week.
Nearly 1,000 people were asked: ‘In an average week, how many hours would you say are spent putting other people's interests or needs before your own?’
Some pet owners questioned would cancel a holiday if they were worried about their animals
Of the 10 categories, such as husbands, children and friends, people admitted that they were more likely to devote themselves to their dogs, cats or other pets than many of their close relatives. Those aged over 55 said they put their pets on an equal footing with their friends.
People told researchers that they had, for example, returned early from a holiday after discovering that their dog was not happy in its kennel.
Others had been prepared to cancel a foreign trip because they were worried about a pet's illness.
Overall, the survey, conducted by Lloyds TSB bank, found that a typical person spent nearly 50 hours a week putting other people's needs before their own.
The type of people for whom we were prepared to sacrifice our time changes dramatically as we grow up. Nearly 40 per cent of people aged between 16 and 24 said that friends were most important but this number dwindled to 17 per cent for people aged 55 and above, an age when partners - for the first time - were most important.
Husbands and wives played second fiddle to children for 20 years, particularly between the ages of 35 and 44, according to the survey. A fifth of people said they always put other people's needs before their own.