Do you treat your pet like a child?
Everyone knows that the UK is a nation of animal lovers but even the most enthusiastic dog owner will realise that some people can take things too far and pamper their pooches a little too much.
You don’t have to be a celebrity or a superstar to fall foul of giving your dog a lifestyle that could be over the top. In fact a recent survey has revealed that 88% of owners in the UK apparently treat their pets much in the same way as they do their own children.
Pet products company Astar Pets asked 1,000 animal owners in the UK about their habits regarding just how well their pets were treated. The results found that an astonishing 90% of pets can expect to receive their own Christmas present and 66% get a little something on their birthday.
In fact, 60% of pets receive a treat from their owners every week, adding to the total average spend of £70 a month that their owners pay out from their pockets and purses.
The study goes so far as to suggest that some people are acting less like “pet owners” and could be considered to be behaving more as “pet parents”. One in six of the respondents to the survey admitted that they would be happy to give their pet a gift that was more expensive than one they would buy for their partner.
A spokesperson for the company that carried out the survey said:
“The UK has truly transformed from being a nation of pet owners to being a nation of pet parents who enjoy spending time with and treating their pet.”
Of course it isn’t just presents and gifts that are included when it comes to treating a pet like a child. Parents will always do their best to ensure their children are eating properly and healthily and this means encouraging them to eat vegetables and other nutritious foods.
Now it appears pets are being given the same kind of consideration, as more than half of those who took part in the study said that they bought specialist or organic food brands for their pets.
With other considerations such as pet-sitters and dog walkers making sure that pets don’t get lonely while their owners are out at work, it really would seem that ‘pet parenting’ is a very real phenomenon.
Kids as pets
Perhaps the strangest development of the whole trend is that the reverse might be true as well, with parents using pet training techniques on their kids!
Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, author of The Spoilt Generation, explains:
“Parents are finally realising that the tail is wagging the dog. Authority is a good thing.”
Parenting coach Judy Reith told The Guardian that she applies animal training techniques to her children every day.
“Parents just want to be their [kids’] friends because they hardly see them. But it’s no good being their friend. You need to be unpopular sometimes and lay down the law,” she explained.