As the UK celebrates national Love Your Pet Day (February 20, 2013), new research has revealed just how close canines are to the hearts of the nation.

As the UK celebrates national Love Your Pet Day (February 20, 2013), new research has revealed just how close canines are to the hearts of the nation.

Pooches appear to be receiving more star treatment than partners and other family members, according to new research from More Than.A survey of 2,000 British dog owners found that, on average, they spend £21.63 buying gifts and treats to celebrate a special occasion for their dog, such as a birthday or anniversary. What’s more, 1 in 10 are prepared to blow the budget completely and fork out as much as £50.
 
However, the survey – carried out by insurance provider More Than – found that two-legged loved ones clearly can’t command the same level of affection as those on four legs. Results showed that those surveyed would be unprepared to spend more than £15.52 on their partners for those same special occasions.

With around eight million dog owners in the UK today, the equivalent national spend on gifts and treats for dogs is an estimated £152.3 million a year. This compares to more modest £109.2 million for husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends.
 
More Than’s John Ellenger said: “For millions of people dogs aren’t seen as just animals but as faithful companions at the heart of the home. It’s therefore not surprising to see that people are prepared to splash the cash when it comes to their four-legged friends.”
 
However, it would seem that partners aren’t just playing second fiddle to pets in the spending stakes. The survey also revealed that 33% of respondents would always take the day off work to celebrate the birthday or anniversary of their cuddly companion – 11% more than would do the same for their better halves.
 
More than one third of respondents also confessed that they prefer spending time with their dogs than their partners and have more of an emotional connection with their canine companion.

Image © istockphoto.com/GlobalP
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