Paws for thought – dog owners prefer pets to family…

The humble dog is no longer just man’s best friend – it has overtaken close family members in our affections, according to our latest survey, in association with pet lifestyle website PetsPyjamas. Piper currently has two leading natural pet food brands in its portfolio, Barking Heads and Forthglade.

More than half (55%) the UK’s dog owners say they ‘prefer’ their pet to the rest of their family, a figure rising to 69% among under 44-year-olds. 97% declare their dog is their ‘greatest pleasure in life,’ while more than half (54%) allow their pet to sleep in the family bed. Two thirds (66%) of under 44-year-olds say they have chosen a dog ‘over parenthood for now’.

Humans also fare less well than other species when it comes to charitable giving. 77% of those surveyed say they donate to animal charities, compared with 51% who back those supporting humans.

The results, taken from a nationwide survey of 865 dog owners, reflect the ever-increasing humanization of the pet industry in which UK consumers spend more than £11.6 billion each year.

In other findings:

An overwhelming 98% give their dogs treats, 84% at least once daily. When asked why they gave their dogs treats, more than a third say they do so ‘to make them happy’ (37%) and ‘to show them I love them’ (35%).

Nearly four out of five owners (78%) take their dog with them when going on holiday in the UK.

Three quarters (77%) of respondents buy shampoo/conditioner for their dogs and half (51%) purchase clothing.

13% of owners have pet food/services subscriptions in which food is tailor-made for their dogs.

Natalie Thwaites, Associate Partner at Piper, said: ‘The UK’s love affair with dogs is clearly stronger than ever. These results are very interesting and support the trend in humanisation as consumers increasingly seek the same level of quality in pet food and products as they would for themselves. A dog’s life is very much a charmed one in UK households.’

Karen Hanton, co-founder at PetsPyjamas, said: ‘Our mission at PetsPyjamas is to help dog lovers (and their dogs!) feel comfortable and welcomed when travelling both in the UK and overseas. The survey results are totally consistent with our experience that trips are chosen with Fido’s happiness and enjoyment right at the top of the list!’

The UK’s love affair with dogs is clearly stronger than ever. These results are very interesting and support the trend in humanisation as consumers increasingly seek the same level of quality in pet food and products as they would for themselves. A dog’s life is very much a charmed one in UK households.
Natalie Thwaites

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