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Press Office

10th March 2011

Petplan launches the UK Pet Census

-Pet Census Tells Us We're A 'Cens-itive' Nation-

The 2011 National Census should be officially completed this Sunday - 27th March, but we have been asking the nation its own set of questions. From today, we are revealing the UK's largest ever pet census – the Petplan Pet Census 2011. Whilst Brits are already known to be a nation of animal lovers, the findings show that pets may actually play their part in a 'big society' with proof that pets make us more compassionate, happier, healthier and more sociable.

As it stands there are currently over 24 million pets in the UK - double the number of pensioners (based on an estimated 12 million people over 65 years of age)*. The Petplan Pet Census collected information from more than 10,000 pet-owners asking them about a number of topics including diet, social relations and the cost of living. The result is the most ever comprehensive body of research about pets and their owners; which can be split into four clear themes; Compassion & Relationships, Diet & Wellbeing, Purchasing and Social Behaviour. Each theme takes a detailed look into the way pets affect each part of our life.

Alison Andrew, Petplan's Head of Marketing comments: "The Petplan Pet Census demonstrates that pets play an enormous role in their owners' lives. In many cases they can have the same impact on an owner as a human influence. Despite criticism that we are an uncaring society, the fact that 23% of pet owners take compassionate leave when a pet passes, shows that pets and owners share a very close and empathetic bond."

Did you know? What it tells us
Compassion & Relationships
37% of respondents have mixed up pet names with the name of their partner or children Pets are often valued equally within the family unit
65% feel their pet is more reliable than their spouse There is a strong bond between owner and pet which in some cases can be stronger than a human bond
66% of pet owners would take in a stray if it appeared in their garden As a nation the majority of us feel a huge sense of compassion, often with a duty to look after the animals around them
Diet & Wellbeing
83% of owners aren't concerned with over feeding their pet Pet obesity remains to be a problem with some owners. Despite an awareness drive by vet professionals and media coverage in recent years, owners still need guidance on healthy feeding practices for their pets
Fish and chips (41%) is the most popular takeaway to feed your pet Many owners "humanize" their pets by sharing their own food preferences
80% of dogs have regular walks everyday without fail The majority of owners are aware of the importance of regular exercise for a dog
Purchasing
Over half (54%) of us would include a pet in our will Pets are seen as an extension of the family unit and many owners are concerned for their pets welfare in their absence
Three in every ten respondents (almost 33%) chose their pet from a charity There is a strong sense of social responsibility to rehome pets
32% buy treats and gifts more often for their pets than their partner Like our children, pet owners often feel compelled to spoil them with gifts
Social Behaviour
56% of respondents are not worried about leaving their pet home alone Pets can be independent if properly trained however, some could suffer anxiety and become badly behaved if not given enough attention
64% of owners are in favour of Dog ASBOs New legislation which is set to be introduced to control behaviour of dogs anti-social behaviour is strongly supported
Over half (54%) would discipline another person's pet People aren’t afraid to take responsibility for other people’s pets, showing a strong sense of 'community' between pet owners

For further information, read the Petplan Pet Census 2011.

About the Petplan Pet Census

The completed Petplan Pet Census has been launched to coincide with the National Census and paints a true picture of what it is like to be a pet owner in Britain today. Incorporating information on health, finance, social and family, the Petplan Pet Census is the first port of call for all you need to know about Britain's pets.

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