New research has found that a quarter of Welsh pet owners are considering giving up holidays and restricting meals out for their pets.

With pet ownership at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that many are starting to experience some of the realities of being a pet parent. Almost one in ten (9%) British pet owners have even gone as far as stopping to save for big life events such as having a wedding or children, due to the financial implications of owning a cat or dog.

Pet parents are clearly struggling to maintain their normal lifestyles with their pooches, so Pet Wellness Experts Itch surveyed Welsh pet owners to uncover how they’re coping with their new four-legged friends. Itch have found that one fifth no longer eat out as they don’t want to leave their pups alone.

The new research by pet wellness experts Itch, finds that as well as pushing aside major life milestones, others have considered giving up holidays (25%), eating out (21%), having a gym membership (16%) and even dating (8%) as the costs of pet parenting mount up.

The study also found that unforeseen vet costs are the biggest challenge of being a pet parent (56%). Despite vet costs being the highest-ranking challenge, it seems many weren’t aware of this before committing to a four-legged friend, as over one in five (21%) say they didn’t realise how much vet treatment would cost.

 

The top 10 challenges of owning a pet:

Rank Reason Percentage
1. Unforeseen vet costs 56%
2. Leaving their pet(s) on their own 45%
3. Keeping their pet(s) healthy 42%
4. The costs associated with raising a pet 41%
5. Going on holiday and not knowing what to do with them 41%
6. Their pet(s) getting fleas 31%
7. Giving their pet(s) enough exercise 29%
9. Deciding what food to feed their pet(s) 29%
10. Training their pet(s) 27%

Other struggles highlighted by the study are leaving their pet(s) on their own (45%) and keeping their pet(s) healthy (42%). A further quarter (25%) of Brits avoid taking their pet to vets unless absolutely necessary, most likely due to high vet bills, and finding the experience stressful for themselves and their pet (32%).

But it’s not just the cost of pets causing pet parents a headache, as over a third (38%) say their pets have gone to the bathroom on their bed or carpets, over a quarter (26%) of pets have chewed their owner’s furniture and 23% have even brought their owners a dead animal into the house as a gift…lovely!

One thing that pet owners can’t deny is the unconditional love between themselves and their furry friend. But with such a strong bond between human and pet, comes extra responsibility too. Almost two in five (39%) say their pet’s physical health is a stress to them, 24% say they worry about their pet’s mental health, and others raise not having enough time (26%) or money (18%) to spend with or on them as a cause for concern.

Despite the challenges that come with pet parenting, it’s clear to see the pet/human relationship remains strong. Two thirds (66%) say their pet is a valued member of the family and one in five (20%) even say they love their pet as much as their partner, showing that when it comes to pet ownership, the pros often outweigh the cons.

 

Zoe Costigan, in-house vet at Itch, commented:

“It’s great to see that so many pet parents see their pet as a valued member of their family. But naturally, this can cause us stress when it comes to looking after the physical and mental health of our furry family members.

“Given that fleas are ranked in the top 10 challenges of pet parenting and that a fifth of owners (20%) only use flea treatment when they remember, signing up to a monthly subscription such as Itch could be an easy way to overcome this. A subscription means you can get highly effective parasite treatment delivered to your door, exactly when you need it. So your pets are protected all year round, and not only when you remember!”

 

Andrew Pinnington, CEO at Itch, also commented:  

“We weren’t shocked to see that two thirds of pet owners consider their pet as a valued member of their family, nor that caring for our beloved pets comes with some challenges, too. But with some pet parents avoiding a trip to the vet due to high costs and the associated stress, this could have an impact on the pet’s health further down the line, especially if conditions are left untreated.

“Ensuring that pets are living their best lives is at the heart of everything we do at Itch. That’s why we have partnered with FirstVet to ensure Itch customers get 24/7 access to expert veterinary advice, as part of their monthly parasite protection subscription. With Itch Video Vet more than ⅔ of cases are solved via video call from the comfort of your own home. So there should never be a time where pet owners feel like they can’t reach out for help when it comes to caring for their pets.”

To receive monthly parasite protection delivered straight to your door, and get access to free veterinary advice (worth up to £90/year)* visit itchpet.com.

 


 

1 Consumer research carried out by Attest, consisting of 1000 UK adults that own dogs/cats, conducted in June 2021.

 

*Access to Itch Video Vet requires an active Itch subscription, post-free trial period. T&Cs apply.

 

 For more information visit www.firstvet.com/uk.