Fur over family say pet owners

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From re-mortgaging homes to taking out loans, owners will go to extremes in the name of pet care.

In a recent poll by Petplan, almost half of those surveyed could not put a financial value on the life of their pet with 90 per cent stating they would save their pet first from a burning house, yet shockingly 50 per cent of those surveyed did not have their pet insured.

While the nation’s admiration for its furry friends is nothing new, 54 per cent of pet owners now admit that they treasure their pets more than their partners, and 28 per cent more than their friends.

This emotional valuation is echoed in the financial sacrifices that participants admit to having made in the past. A fifth of pet owners admitted to having parted with a full month’s earnings, almost a fifth said they had stayed in at weekends, and 15 per cent sacrificed an annual holiday in order to cover costs for their prized pets.

Such is this devotion, the research also revealed that pet owners would not think twice about giving up life’s luxuries for their four-legged friends – one in four of those surveyed would be prepared to take out a loan to cover treatment for their pets if they were ill (30%), while one in 20 would be willing to re-mortgage their home if needed (6%).

The spending doesn’t stop there – one in four of those surveyed treat their pets more than their own children with a monthly toy (25%) – only 15% admitted to the same treatment for their offspring. Pet owners are regularly spending money on grooming, treats, pet sitters, kennels and catteries, with the average pet owner admitting to splashing £270 on speciality food and treats for their pets each year, with men (£355) far out spending women (£189).

Isabella Von Mesterhazy, head of marketing at Petplan, said: “As any pet owner will be able to relate to, having a pet can be all consuming. We treasure our pets not only as companions, but as members of the family, and as our findings show, you can’t put a price on the love we have for our animals.

“Our research found that, on average, pets visit the vet three times a year, so the cost of pet ownership can really add up. We pay out £3million in claims every week – insuring your pet is so important; not only for your bank balance but also for peace of mind that your pet can be cared for should illness strike or the unthinkable happen.”