NEARLY two in five pet owners consider their pets to be like a child to them – with more than a quarter preferring to see their furry friend over their partner after a day at work.
A poll of 2,000 cat or dog owners found 73 per cent see their four-legged friend as part of the family, with 40 per cent of pets having their own spot on the sofa.
And 45 per cent of owners even admitted to prioritising their pets' needs over their own.
More than half also place more importance on their animals’ walks and exercise over their own time to relax.
While 47 per cent are more likely to treat their pet than themselves.
Although, this unconditional love does carry an extra burden – with owners spending an average of one hour and 45 minutes a week worried about their furry family member.
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Their pet’s happiness and health were the top concerns, while others also highlighted the impact the rising cost of living is having on their ability to care for their pet.
The research was commissioned by pet care specialist, Pets at Home, which aims to support owners and their pet throughout each stage of their life.
Dr Karen Heskin, head of pets at the brand said: “Our pets have such a profound impact on our lives.
"That’s why we are dedicated to our purpose of putting pets first and helping owners be their best – because life really is better with pets.
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“It’s no surprise to us that they are seen as such an integral part of family, but we know that doesn’t come without its challenges.
"We are here to support in every way we can – from sharing expert care and advice to help ease those worries, to providing the well-deserved treats and toys for showering your pet with love.”
The study also saw 21 per cent of cat or dog owners admit pet ownership is more challenging than they initially expected.
Worrying about them when they are apart is one of the leading challenges, with many even concerned about just getting them to stop clawing at the furniture.
But 52 per cent claimed getting their furry friend was one of the best moments of their lives – and a fifth said it was more special than landing their first job.
More than one in 10 even look back more fondly on welcoming their pet into the family than their wedding day, the survey conducted via OnePoll found.
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Dr Karen Heskin, from Pets at Home, added: “Welcoming a pet into the home is such a rewarding and special moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
“Having somewhere to turn for informed, honest help is the key to getting through the more challenging times and our pet care specialists are specifically trained to provide that support.”
MOST COMMON CONCERNS OWNERS HAVE ABOUT THEIR PET
1. Their happiness
2. Them getting ill
3. Their diet
4. Eating/ drinking things that could be poisonous to them
5. Their weight
6. Their dental health
7. Their behaviour
8. Their separation anxiety
9. How well they interact with other animals
10. How well they interact with other people generally
11. How much it costs to look after them
12. The impact the rising cost of living will have on them
13. Their moulting hair in the home
14. Their bowel health
15. How well they interact with children
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