Holidays leave Britain’s pet owners feeling like they are in the dog house

September 1, 2015

As the nation gets ready to enjoy the final summer bank holiday, spare a thought for Britain’s pet owners as new research from Mintel finds almost four in ten (38%) pet owners feel guilty about leaving their pet behind when going on holiday.

Whilst holidays are a time to sit back and enjoy a carefree break away from home, it seems like parting from our beloved animals is causing the nation’s pet owners much anxiety. Indeed, as many as four in ten (38%) pet owners agree that they feel guilty leaving their pet behind when going away on holiday, with Britain’s women (45%) more likely to be shouldering the guilt than men (31%).

Furthermore, it seems leaving our pampered pets is one step too far for some animal lovers, as almost three in ten (27%) pet owners say they are interested in pet-friendly hotels when holidaying with their pet. Meanwhile, over a quarter (27%) of pet owners are interested in a car with pet-friendly features, making travelling a more attractive option for our four legged friends.

 49% of cat and dog owners claim they would be interested in a webcam or app which monitors pets while they are out

For one in five (17%) Brits, going on holiday presents too much of a barrier for ownership, this group do not own a pet because they simply don’t know who would take care of their pet while they were away on holiday. However, for those forced to leave their pets in the hands of others, half (49%) of cat and dog owners claim they would be interested in a webcam or app which monitors pets while they are out.

Ina Mitskavets Senior Consumer and Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, said:

Whilst holidays are an annual highlight for many, they can pose a significant problem for many pet owners. For those not wishing to leave their pets at home, it is clear there is significant interest in pet-friendly hotels, with leisure operators already taking notice of this demand. Although the pet hotel industry is certainly expanding and now includes premium pet lodgings, using such services may not be an option for an average British pet owner. There could be more initiatives to make holidaying with pets stress-free for both owners concerned about the wellbeing of their pet and pets themselves. There is also room for more specialised services that cater to pet owners and their animals, similar to companies that cater to holidaying families.”

Just as well-being remains a key issue for humans, more than half (53%) of pet owners say they would do whatever it takes to make sure their pet is healthy. Indeed, just under one in ten (7%) pet owners have enrolled their pet in exercise classes and a further 16% claim they are interested in using such a service. And for those looking for a more modern exercise approach, some 51% of dog and cat owners would be interested in wearable activity monitors for their pets.

“There is a definite scope for more services and devices that allow pet owners to monitor or interact with their pets from afar to make sure they are well. This would hold a particularly strong appeal to the the over-55s demographic who are more likely to complain of not knowing who is going to take care of their pet when they are away.” Ina continues.

Highlighting the bond between a pet and their owner, almost a third (32%) of pet owners believe that their pet understands how they are feeling more than most people, a view which is shared more with women (37%) than men (26%). Meanwhile, one in five (17%) owners admit they feel pressure to be a good parent for their pet. Today, almost one in five (17%) pet owners say they have stayed at home or missed work to take care of a pet, which rises to five in ten (19%) women.

Showing we are truly a nation of pet lovers, almost three in ten (27%) pet owners own a pet to give a rescue animal a home. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) of pet owners think it is important to donate to animal charities, while 22% are more likely to buy a brand which supports animal causes.

The bond between a pet and their owner is starting to resemble very closely that between a parent and a child. Such shifting attitudes pave the way for new industries to develop and grow around pet doting and pampering, as pet parents seek to demonstrate how dedicated they are to their non-human companions.” Ina concludes.

Mintel News

For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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