Christmas is a time for giving and it seems that over 50s pet owners love indulging their four-legged friends at this time of year. Research by Saga Pet Insurance* revealed that a staggering £23 million will be spent by the over 50s** on Christmas presents for their pets this year.
However it seems that dogs are luckier than cats when it comes to receiving festive gifts from their owners. Two thirds of over 50s dog owners** (62%) are prepared to splash out and buy Christmas treats for their pooches, compared to only 40% of cat owners over 50**. Indeed, dog owners are also more generous to their pets – and will spend an estimated £15.1 million this festive period, while cat owners will spend £8.3 million. Doggie presents are costing on average £8 each, compared with £6 for cats - while one in seven dog owners spend up to £20.
During the festive season, not only do over 50s pet owners indulge their pets with presents, they are also prepared to share their Christmas dinner with them. Nearly half of dog owners (46%) admitted feeding their canine friends leftovers from Christmas dinner while almost a third of cat owners (30%) did.
But feeding Christmas dinner to our pets can bring problems. Turkey bones can splinter and get lodged in their throats. Other common everyday food such as onions, chocolate, and the raisins and currents contained in fruitcake can also be harmful.
Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services commented: “We truly are a nation of animal lovers and obviously think of our four-legged friends as being part of the family as we spoil them with festive presents. But we need to curb our festive generosity when it comes to sharing our Christmas dinner with them.
Some leftovers can cause them harm, which could prove costly for both our pets’ health and our wallets with expensive vet bills for treatment.”
Last year, the average Saga Pet Insurance claim for a dog during the Christmas period was £530, and for a cat £370. Saga Pet Insurance is exclusively for pet owners aged 50 or over and can provide up to £5,000 cover for treatment for injury, accident, illness or disease at a chosen veterinary surgery. Saga has also produced a guide about caring for your pet and it can be obtained by visiting www.saga.co.uk/pet or calling 0800 056 5096.
Notes To Editors:
• *Populus interviewed 8,524 adults online, all aged 50 and over, between 9 and 16 November 2012. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
• **There are 21 million over 50s in the UK. Our survey indicates 15% of people are cat owners - 3,150,000. 40% of cat owners buy their pets a present – 1,260,000 - spending on average £6.62. £6.62 x 1,260,000 = £8,341,200. 14% of people are dog owners – 2,940,000. 62% of dog owners buy their pets a present – 1,822,800 – spending on average £8.29. £8.29 x 1,822,800 = £15,111,012.