Pets rule the roost, says Halifax Pet Insurance

06 September 2007
Thousands of British homes are dominated by the lives and needs of their pets, by allowing them to dictate their schedules, holidays, bed time and by making lavish meals for them, reveals new research from Halifax Pet Insurance.

Cats and dogs rule 1.5 million homes in the UK, with pet owners admitting their pets own them, not the other way around. They allow their pets to determine various aspects of their lives, such as their exercise regime, what time they go to bed, and when they eat their meals.

Even how well owners sleep is dictated by their animals, as 2.8 million pet owners admit that allowing their pooch or feline friend to sleep on their bed is resulting in them losing out on their own sleep because their pet has the best spot on the bed.

The dinner literally is in the dog too, with more than 1.1 million pet owners going to the trouble of cooking up special meals for their animal charges because they believe it’s better for them than the tinned variety.

More than one million pet owners say their cat or dog provides a substitute for human companionship, or for having children. As Dr Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist from ‘The Company of Animals’ in Surrey, explains: “More and more people are waiting longer to settle down, get married and have children. Others are spending more time in virtual relationships conducted over the internet. But we still need to stimulate our base instincts to nurture, love and protect. Owning a pet allows them to re-establish that link.”

Where people go on holiday is also often determined by their pets, with more than 2.4 million pet owners only booking holidays that are pet friendly because they cannot bear to be parted from them. According to Halifax Pet Insurance, more than six hundred thousand people suffer from ‘Pet Separation Syndrome’, where people are so attached to their pets they call home to speak to them when they take holidays abroad. 62% ask relatives of friends to look after their pets because they don’t want to leave them with strangers.

Vicky Watson, Products Manager at Halifax Pet Insurance, said: “Pet owners are so dedicated to their animals they would do anything to ensure they are happy, involving them in all aspects of family life. It’s easy to see why the pet is regarded as just as important in the family as they can offer a great deal of companionship and affection.”

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