A new study by MORE TH>N has revealed trends in UK pet ownership with over half of pet owners seeing their cats and dogs as more beneficial to their wellbeing than other humans.
The study from MORE TH>N reveals the full extent of the nation’s love for pets and illustrates just how ingrained in our lives they have become.
The new research has been released as part of the launch of the MORE TH>N Future of Pet Ownership Report, which assesses the state of the nation’s pets – including health and wellbeing, role in society and human attitudes to their animals.
More than 10,000 cat and dog owners were surveyed for the research, which also reveals some of the positive ways in which pets are affecting people’s day-to-day lives.
Over a third of Britons (37%) say pets inject a sense of humour into their day-today-lives with almost half (45%) say they help to reduce stress.
Over a third (34%) say that pets make them feel needed by offering a sense of companionship, with two in five owners (41%) saying that having a pet helps to keep them fit and healthy.
The report however also explores a tendency among those who see their dog or cat as more beneficial to their lives than humans as often being guilty of over-humanising and indulging their pet.
This can have real implications for the overall wellbeing of an animal, in a trend experts are calling ‘killing them with kindness’.
The report reveals that over six million pets are given treats as part of their daily diet, including crisps, cake, left-overs of human food, cheese, chips and takeaways.
This then leads to overweight pets, with the MORE TH>N survey revealing that 30% of dog owners and 18% of cat owners think that they pet is overweight, which can have negative repercussions for their long-term health.
Andrew Moore, Director of pet claims, MORE TH>N, said: “As a vet, I have seen in real life, what our report talks about with people coming to rely on their pets more and more – for their happiness and companionship. There is no doubt we love our pets, but the real kindness we should show is to keep our pets healthy and happy and that means keeping them at the right weight.”
The research also highlighted that behaviour is another area of concern, with 93% of dog owners agree that dogs should be trained how to behave from an early age.
Dr Julia Wrathall, Chief Scientific Officer at RSPCA, who contributed to the report commented: “We could significantly improve the welfare of our pets in the future by taking the trouble to see the world from their perspective. If we understood how our dogs and cats think, what experiences they do and don’t enjoy (which maybe be very different from our own preferences), and why they behave in the way they do in response to different situations, we would be better able to meet their mental needs and to resolve unwanted behaviour by addressing the cause, not the symptom.”
More information and the full report can be found here