Research reveals 17 per cent of the UK's cats and dogs have their own social media profiles

Do yours?

Just over half of dog and cat owners describe their pets as their ‘best friend’ according to new research from Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance. The corresponding figure for dog owners is 59 per cent and for those who own cats it’s 41 per cent.

  • 52 per cent of dog and cat owners describe their pets as their ‘best friends’
  • 17 per cent of dogs and cats have their own social media profiles
  • 42 per cent of dog and cat owners take more photos of their pets than their partners
  • New interactive pet map launched to help you find out how many cats and dogs are in your area
  • Most popular names for dogs are Max, Jack and Poppy, and for cats they are Poppy, Daisy and Molly

Overall, 49 per cent of dog and cat owners say they prefer animals to people. When asked why, 60 per cent said it’s because they are like a faithful friend, 58 per cent said they are more reliable than people and don’t let you down, and 54 per cent said they just make them feel more cheerful.

Psychologist Gladeana McMahon says this is evidence of the “humanisation” of pets – people seeing themselves in them. She says evidence of this can be seen in the range of human-like goods and services for pets, including counselling, massage, motion-sickness pills for dogs and vitamin-enriched food

The research also reveals that 17 per cent of the nation’s cats and dogs have their own social media profiles. Around one in eight (12 per cent) are on Facebook, five per cent are on Instagram, five per cent are on Twitter and three per cent on Snapchat. Some 35 per cent of dog and cat owners commented that their pets feature heavily in their own social media channels. 

To find out which pets are making people happy in your neck of the woods, check out Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance’s new interactive pet map. It tells you whether you live in a cat or dog area and the most popular breeds in it. You can also find out whether your pet’s name ranks in the nation’s favourites. www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/petmap

Tom Thomson, Head of Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, said:“Our pets play an important role in our lives. Not only are they valued members of our families, in many cases they are our best friends.

“However, if they become ill, the cost of veterinary treatment can run into thousands of pounds, but despite this the vast majority of our cats and dogs don’t have pet insurance.”

Psychologist Gladeana McMahon said: “As the problem of loneliness increases in society through a variety of factors such as smaller families, single-person households, living away from family and ageing populations, some people are turning to their pets to provide social comfort and become their ‘best friends’. Our love for our pets is so strong that we are increasingly ‘humanising’ them through the names we give them, and by creating their own profiles on social media.”

Further evidence of the love we have for our pets is that nearly one in four dog and cat owners (42 per cent) say they take more photos of their pets than they do of their partners, and 26 per cent take more pictures of them than their own children.

The research also reveals that the five most popular names for dogs are Max, Jack, Poppy, Charlie and Alfie. For cats they are Poppy, Daisy, Molly, Smudge and Lucy.  

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