News Pet Census Shines Spotlight On Pets Roles In Our Lives



Pet census shines spotlight on pets’ roles in our lives
2nd June 2011

The UK’s largest-ever pet census by insurer Petplan – the Petplan Pet Census 2011 – shows that pets may actually play their part in a ‘big society’, with proof that animals make us more compassionate, happier, healthier and more sociable.

As it stands there are currently more than 24 million pets in the UK – that’s double the number of pensioners (based on an estimated 12 million people over 65 years of age). The Petplan Pet Census collected information from more than 10,000 pet-owners asking them about a number of topics including diet, social relations and the cost of living. 

The result is the most comprehensive body of research about pets and their owners yet. 

The information can be split into four clear themes: Compassion & Relationships, Diet & Wellbeing, Purchasing and Social Behaviour.  Each theme takes a detailed look into the way pets affect each part of our life.

Alison Andrew, Petplan’s head of marketing, said: “The Petplan Pet Census demonstrates that pets play an enormous role in their owners’ lives.  In many cases they can have the same impact on an owner as a human influence.  Despite criticism that we are an uncaring society, the fact that 23 per cent of pet owners take compassionate leave when a pet passes, shows that pets and owners share a very close and empathetic bond.”

The Petplan Pet Census 2011 is available to download at

Compassion & relationships
• 37% of respondents have mixed up their pet names with the name of their partner or children
• 65% feel their pet is more reliable than their spouse
• 66% of pet owners would take in a stray if it appeared in their garden

Diet & wellbeing
• 83% of owners aren’t concerned with over-feeding their pet
• Fish and chips (41%) is the most popular takeaway to feed your pet
• 80% of dogs have regular walks everyday without fail

• Over half (54%) of us would include a pet in our will
• Three in every ten respondents (almost 33%) chose their pet from a charity
• 32% buy treats and gifts more often for their pets than their partner

Social behaviour
• 56% of respondents are not worried about leaving their pet home alone
• 64%  of owners are in favour of Dog ASBOs
• Over half (54%) would discipline another person’s pet.