Feeling guilty as you head off over the Bank Holiday weekend?
Almost half (47%) of UK pet owners say they feel guilty for leaving their pets to go on holiday, according to a new study released today by Co-op Insurance.
The research reveals that a third (31%) of pet owners spend their travels thinking about their pets whilst a sixth (15%) refuse to go on holiday without them.
Highlighting that the guilt sets in before pet owners even set off for their breaks, a third (32%) of pet owners say they treat their pets to make up for what’s about to happen.
More traditional forms of communication are also used by holiday makers with almost a tenth (8%) of pet owners admitting to sending a postcard to their beloved animals.
Furthermore, the study reveals that UK pet owners are dependent on technology for keeping track of their pets whilst on holiday, with two fifths (41%) saying that this is the case.
In terms of the most common forms of technology used to keep in touch with their companions, one in seven sent and received text messages, 6% received video updates and a further one in 20 made phone calls to their pets.
Skype, FaceTime and Instagram are also seen as popular choices for pet owners.
For almost a third (32%) of pet owners, returning from their holiday with a souvenir for their pet is a must. Three quarters (75%) purchase toys, two thirds (65%) opt for edible treats and a fifth (19%) spoil their pets with new bedding.
Once back to normality, pet owners say that out of guilt for leaving their pets they continue to spoil them, almost a third (29%) say they are even more affectionate, over a quarter (28%) provide extra treats and a fifth (18%) buy their pets new toys.
Resident Co-op Insurance vet, Matt Brash commented:
“Pets have complex emotions and there is some evidence to suggest that they do feel a sense of excitement when their owner returns from being away. That said, owners should avoid spoiling their pet before or after their holiday as this can have health implications relating to weight gain and dental problems.
Like children, pets respond to routine and are sensitive to changes in their routines such as packing, and quite obviously associate suitcases with their owners going away. This can exacerbate separation anxiety, which is one of many reasons for keeping their routine as normal as possible. So whilst a holiday treat won’t do any harm, it’s advised that owners keep their pet’s sleep, exercise routine and diet as balanced as possible.”