The Strangest Choices Pet Owners Make
The Strangest Choices Pet Owners Make Each Year
It’s hard to overstate just how strong the bond between pets and their owners can be - we routinely hear of people referring themselves as being “owned” by their pets instead of vice versa, while others refer to themselves as the “mother” or “father” of their dog or cat. People love animals, this much is true, but what are some of the strangest choices made by owners when it comes to their pets? Petplan investigates.
In 2018, Petplan commissioned the largest pet ownership census to date, surveying 60,000 pet owners across the UK, on a wide range of different issues. The common thread found in this census was that in the UK, we really love our pets. What’s really interesting however, is that these little quirks are quickly becoming the norm, with pets further cementing their position in the family unit.
Pets and Family Life
It should come as no surprise that pets, especially dogs, occupy a strong position in the typical family unit. Historically, dogs were more like tools; they helped us to hunt, farm and kept us safe, but they gradually moved from more utilitarian roles to become status symbols, and eventually our friends. This social climbing as it were, has peaked with dogs becoming fully integrated members of our families.
In fact, 35% of the 60,000 people surveyed by Petplan stated that their pet is part of the family, and 49% stated that their pet is not only part of the family but life fits around them where possible.
It’s not uncommon for people to include their dogs in celebrations usually reserved for humans - Christmas cards, presents and birthdays are all things that dogs typically lack the understanding for, yet seem to be included in more and more.
These days, it’s not uncommon that you’ll receive a Christmas card or birthday present from a family member that specifically mentions their pet on the card. While, this may seem a little strange to some, the data shows that these quirks are quickly becoming an established way of life for those of us with pets.
Pets and our Love Life
Our love life is another interesting part of our life that has seen more and more strange decisions being made, with our pets being the cause of these choices. In 2011, the Pet Census found that 2% of people would end a relationship for their pet, and in the last seven years, this number has increased to an enormous 28%. That’s over a quarter of people who believe their pet is such an integral part of their life that they consider it a dealbreaker if any problems arise between a prospective partner and their pet.
Interestingly, being a pet owner might actually make us more attractive to others. For example, Anthrozoös journal (which focuses on the interactions of people and animals) found that when volunteers were asked to rate photographs of people, they often ranked those who appeared with a dog as happier, safer, and more relaxed.
So, while it might seem strange that 16% of horse owners, 11% of dog owners, and 8% of cat owners have all cancelled dates to be with their pets, it seems that their pets could in the end help find them find their second love!
Pets and our Holidays
Another cornerstone of modern life is, ironically enough, our desire to get away from it all and go on holiday. In fact, Nationwide estimate that Brits spend up to a quarter of their disposable income on holidays each year. Obviously, having pets can complicate things in this area, not everyone can just pick up and leave when they want and if you’re one of the 49% of people surveyed, you’ve decided where to go on holiday purely based on your pet.
As a nation, we clearly love our holidays, but it’s good to see that we still value the health, happiness, and safety of our pets above all else. In fact, 39% of us are choosing to spend our holidays domestically due to our pets’ needs, and 42% take our pets into account when deciding where to stay for the festive period.it seems that their pets could in the end help find them find their second love!
So, it seems whether we’re making decisions for our family, ourselves, or regarding our holidays, our pets are at the forefront of our minds. While these decisions may seem strange to some, to others they make perfect logical sense and based on the rising numbers behind these decisions, it seems that in future these ‘strange’ choices will be perfectly normal across our entire society.
What are some of the strangest choices you’ve made for your pets? Let us know in the