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Press Office

15th January 2008

Not sure which sofa to buy? British families let their pets decide

Decisions about holidays, home furnishings and cars have always been tricky for British families, but, to complicate matters further, another factor is increasingly being taken into consideration: the needs of the family pet.

According to a new study by Petplan, the UK’s leading pet insurer, British pet owners are basing major decisions about their lives and relationships on what they think will be most suitable for their animals. Many would even go so far as to include their pets in pre-nuptial agreements.

Holiday plans were the number one area in which pets had influence. Petplan’s researchers found that 68% of dog owners and 47% of cat owners said that this was the most important area in which to take their pet into consideration.

Next came choice of home furnishings and floors: 50% of dog owners and 34% of cat owners said that their pet was a major influence on their purchasing decisions.

Dog owners then said choice of car was the third most important (48%) followed by garden (47%) and house (25%).

Cat owners had slightly different priorities with 18% ranking gardens as the third most important factor and choice of house fourth (33%).

More cat owners said their pet had a say in their choice of partner: 9% said their animal had a stake in their romances compared to 6% of dog owners.

Those surveyed felt so strongly about their pets that they were even prepared to include them in pre-nuptial agreements. 29% of dog owners and 21% of cat owners said that they’d incorporate their animal into any legal agreement before marriage.

Simon Wheeler, Petplan’s head of marketing, commented: “It’s reassuring to know that owners are thinking so much about the well-being of their pets – even right down to choice of husband or wife.

“As families have changed over the years, pets are now playing a more important emotional role in them and this is reflected in their owners’ feelings towards them. There are fewer big, extended families living close together so caring for a pet during a holiday has become more of an issue. But also the rise of households containing either a single person or two adults means that pets have a bigger say in family life and the decisions that are made – right down to the type of settee.”

Petplan questioned 398 dog owners and 363 cat owners for its study in late 2007.

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

For more information about Petplan cat insurance, please visit:
www.petplan.co.uk/factsheets/why-take-out-cat-insurance.asp

For more information about Petplan dog insurance, please visit:
www.petplan.co.uk/factsheets/why-take-out-dog-insurance.asp