Seven out of 10 Brits ‘would prioritise their pet over their partner’

We are a nation of ‘pawrents’, with seven in ten prioritising their pet over their partner, new research has revealed.

Young pet owners refer to their pet as their ‘fur baby’, and over a third (36 percent) say their family isn’t complete without an animal living at home.

Ninety-seven percent of the 18- to 35-year-old pet owners surveyed said they love their pet as if it were their child, while seven in 10 say they would rather spend time with their beloved animal than their partner.

A sixth (15 percent) like snuggling with their animal so much that they have cancelled plans with friends and family, and three quarters (76 percent) have even cancelled a holiday or special occasion because their pet was unwell.

Most pet parents insure their animals, but one in five (19 percent) do not, according to research from the Post Office.

Common reasons for not taking out pet cover include the high cost (42 percent), not feeling the need to take out pet health insurance (33 percent) and their pet currently being healthy (25 percent).

Those who don’t have pet insurance spend an average of £632 a year on vet bills. Cat owners are less likely to have insurance (82 percent) compared to dog owners (84 percent).

The Post Office’s Paul Paddock said: “We’ve always known that the UK is a nation of animal lovers and it’s evident from the research that being a pawrent is more important than ever to modern Brits.

“However, it’s also clear that many underestimate how much owning and caring for a pet can cost, with more than half admitting that it is more expensive than they expected.”

The costs of keeping pets healthy are a concern for most pet parents. Three quarters of pet owners (75%) say they have panicked about escalating animal-related bills, and 14% even opt not to take their pet to the vet when they are ill as they are worried about mounting costs.

A fifth (13 percent) admit they have regretted getting a pet after seeing huge vet bills, while eight percent say the rising costs have taken a toll on their mental health.

It’s no surprise that one in three (34 percent) say that giving up a ‘fur baby’ you can’t afford is the most heart-breaking thing they can imagine.

Post Office has created an online hub to help people calculate the cost of owning a pet. It can be found here.

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