Survey reveals how UK pets are being treated as children

A new survey by Webbox Natural reveals a surge in people choosing to treat their pet like a child.

The study of 1,000 UK based pet owners was conducted by YouGov to celebrate National Pet Parents Day (28 April 2019) and presents some interesting findings with many pet owners referring to themselves as ‘Mum and Dad’ to cuddling up to their furry friends for a good night’s sleep.

According to the survey, 26% of women surveyed let their pet sleep in their bed, whilst men are less keen (18%). A quarter of 18-34-year olds like to cuddle up to their pets in bed at night, whilst 81% of the over 55s prefer separate sleeping arrangements.

The South West of England is the region with the most pet bed sharing (29%), whilst Wales and London have the lowest rates (18%). Divorcees are also named as the group most likely to allow their pets into their bedroom at 30%.

Across the UK, 53% of women surveyed said that they referred to themselves as their pet’s ‘Mum’ or ‘Mummy’, whilst only 35% of men surveyed admitted to calling themselves their pet’s ‘Dad’ or ‘Daddy’.

Of the age groups surveyed, 45-54- year olds used these labels the most at 54%. The split across UK regions showed that this is most common in England (45%) and least common in Wales (39%).

According to the survey, rats hold a special bond with their owners, with 65% of rat owners confessing to naming themselves as parent to a rodent. Hamsters also have a special place in pet-owners affections with 67% saying that they purchased their pet for reasons of companionship, compared to 64% of dog owners.

Surprisingly, only 3% of pet owner surveyed said that they bought their pet to practice for the responsibility of parenting a child. Companionship (54%) and daily routine/walks (18%) were cited as reasons for owning a pet, whilst 31% made their choice to give rescue centre animals a home.

Commenting on the findings, Julie Butcher, head of marketing at pet food brand, Webbox Natural, said: “Pets bring so much fun and comfort to our daily lives that it’s no surprising we treat them as much-loved family members.

“The playful nature and unconditional love they show us is quite childlike and creates a unique bond. This survey shows that the UK is truly a nation of pet-lovers and we’re delighted to celebrate the fact that we care so much for our furry friends.”

Founded in 2007, National Pet Parents Day celebrates the unique bond between a pet and its owner and how animal companions play a vital part in their ‘pet parents’ life.

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