Petlag: Half of London pet owners feel guilt when jetting off

Seven per cent won’t go on holiday without their pets 

Over half (58 per cent) of pet owners living in London 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 almost a third (32 per cent) of pet owners spend their travels thinking about their pets whilst almost a tenth (seven per cent) refuse to go on holiday without them. 

Highlighting that the guilt sets in before pet owners even set off for their breaks, almost half (46 per cent) 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 quarter (23 per cent) of pet owners admitting to sending a postcard to their beloved animals. 

Furthermore, the study reveals that London pet owners are dependent on technology for keeping track of their pets whilst on holiday, with over half (56 per cent) saying that this is the case. 

In terms of the most common forms of technology used to keep in touch with their companions, a quarter sent and received text messages, 13 per cent received video updates and a further one in eight made phone calls to their pets.

Skype, FaceTime and Instagram are also seen as popular choices for pet owners.

For half (50 per cent) of pet owners, returning from their holiday with a souvenir for their pet is a must. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) purchase toys, two thirds (61 per cent) opt for edible treats and over a quarter (29 per cent) 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, a third (34 per cent) provide extra treats, a quarter (27 per cent) buy their pets new toys and over a quarter (27 per cent) say they feed their pets extra food.

 Post-holiday pet spoiling per cent
1.Feed their pets treats34 per cent
2.Buy their pets new toys27 per cent
3.Feed their pets extra food27 per cent
4.Give extra cuddles and attention21 per cent
5.Let it sleep in my bedroom18 per cent

Resident Co-op Insurance vet, Matt Brash said: “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.”

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