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Britain confirmed as nation of animal lovers
- survey reveals that a quarter of pet owners love their pets as much as their children

For a long time it’s been suspected that the British are devoted to their four-legged friends, but new research now reveals the extent to which pet owners are prepared to go for their pets.

The survey of over 2,000 pet owners by Petplan, the UK’s largest provider of pet insurance, revealed that nearly a quarter of pet owners admit to loving their dogs or cats as much as their children and nearly one in five would stump up as much as a month’s wages (approximately £1,830 based on the average family income*) as a reward if their pet went missing.
The survey also revealed the following:

l Nearly a fifth (18%) are considering giving their pet a proper burial, including a special grave or cremation at a specialist pet cemetery

l Over half of pet owners (51%) share their beds with their dog/cat

l 13% would consider or have considered setting up a prenuptial agreement to agree custody of their pet should the relationship come to an end

l 62% of pet owners buy their pets Christmas presents with 68% spending as much as £20 per present (and 2% admitting spending up to £200 on a diamond collar)

Pets also come first when it comes to buying a house. A quarter put their pet’s needs first when buying a house. Size of gardens proved the most important factor for 78% followed by nearby parks or grassland for regular exercise. Over a third claimed they have redesigned their garden to make it more suitable for their cats and dogs.

Although a pet gives unconditional love to its owners, it gets plenty in return. In addition to buying Christmas presents, nearly a quarter (22%) buy their pets a birthday present and 27% regularly buy gifts simply ‘for being a good friend’.

Fiona Pinkney, communications manager for Petplan comments: "The Brits are known for their love of animals but this research proves our dedication has reached a new level. This survey shows that pets really do come first and devoted owners are prepared to make huge sacrifices in order to ensure their dogs and cats have the best of everything.

She continues: "It’s encouraging to see pet owners taking such a huge responsibility for their animals and treating them as a member of the family. However, as a note of caution I recommend they think twice before spoiling their pets with unnecessary and expensive foods and treats.
Sometimes it’s good to say no to reaffirm who’s the boss of the house!"