Nearly nine-in-ten dogs will be heading for an unexpected staycation this year, due to the covid-19 boost to British tourism.
New research from Forthglade Natural Pet Food also reveals that 40% of dog owners are expecting to get away on a ‘holidog’ with their pet twice in 2020.
This staycation surge is a welcome opportunity for some of the UK’s 9.9 million dog lovers – currently estimated to be 26% of the UK adult population – who can’t bear to part with their canine companions. Survey findings show that more than half of those UK dog owners haven’t been on holiday abroad for at least two and a half years as they couldn’t bear jetting off and leaving their dog at home (52%).
In fact, a third of owners say they wouldn’t go on holiday at all if they couldn’t take their dog (33%). And, of those owners who have braved the doghouse to go away without their pooch, six in ten admitted they regretted the decision. Almost half worried their dog wasn’t being looked after (49%), 40% believed their dog was miserable without them, and a fifth cried on holiday because they missed their dog so much (22%).
Britain has long held the title as a nation of animal lovers, so it’s no surprise that 58% of people cite their dog as their best friend, with owners even resorting to making video calls and telephoning their pets while on holiday (22%).
For owners who do take their dog on holiday, 55% say feeling like the whole family being together is the best part, 32% maintain their dog is the key to spending more time outdoors, and 22% say the experience deepens the bond they have with their furry friend.
So strong is the relationship between owner and pup that the family dog is even ousting spouses as the most favoured holiday companion, as 36% of dog owners confessed they would choose a holiday with their dog over their partner. More than a quarter feel their dog enjoys their company more (27%), a fifth say there is less compromise when they holiday with their dog, and just under a quarter of owners are more attached to their dog overall (23%).
Speaking about Forthglade’s latest survey, Gerard Lovell, joint managing director and owner of Labrador Bo, said: “It’s heart-warming to see how many people feel a holiday is not complete without their dog. We’re hearing from owners that this year has given them, and their dogs, much more opportunity to spend time together on family holidays in the UK – deepening a nourishing relationship and bond even more.
“We’re also hearing that this is a longer-term change of behaviour too. Our study found that 41% of owners are now open to choosing a staycation in the future so they can travel with their dog.”
When it comes to the UK’s favourite dog-friendly destinations, 49% of owners choose the Lake District; 34% say Cornwall, 31% say the Peak District and 27% vote Devon.
And, from national parks to a taste of the seaside, walking nature trails (56%), coast paths (55%) and hiking (32%) were ranked as the top three staycation activities for owners, proving it’s not just dogs who love walkies.