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Half of owners would choose their pet over in-laws on Christmas Day

Almost half of pet owners would rather spend Christmas Day with their four-legged friends than their in-laws, Blue Cross reveals.

A survey for the charity found 44% of people would rather stay at home with their pet than celebrate with their in-laws, with nearly half of those aged 25-34 (48.50%) and 35-44 (49%) agreeing.

Despite thoughts that Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, almost a third (31%) of people said they would prefer to spend the day with their pet rather than with their entire family, with nearly 40% of 16-24 year-olds agreeing.

Meanwhile 41% would be happier to spend the day with their pet over their friends, increasing to half of 25-34 year olds and 45% of 16-24 year olds.

Even partners seem to be in the dog house this Christmas with 20% of people saying they’d prefer to spend the day with their pet. Some 31% of 25-34 year old’s agreed.

And while love thy neighbour seems appropriate at this festive time, 61% of people said they would prefer to spend the day with their pet rather than those who live around them. 66% of 16-24 and 25-34 year olds, rising to 67% of 35-44 year olds agreed.

The survey also highlighted that Christmas time is a period where owners choose to thoroughly spoil their pets.

Half (50%) of UK pet owners said they will be getting their pet a Christmas present this year, with well over a third (38%) ensuring their pet’s presents are nicely wrapped up. The average owner will spend around £20 on gifts of toys and treats, but plenty will spend in excess of £50 (3%).

Some will even spend more on their pets than their aunts and uncles (10%), siblings (8%) and mother-in-law (7%).

The nation’s pets are also being spoilt at dinner on Christmas Day, with 38% enjoying a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and almost one in ten (9%) being given a special treat for dinner on the big day.

Blue Cross welcomes pets being part of the big day but warns owners to be mindful this Christmas.

Pets should only be given a small portion of the Christmas dinner, while some food and drink such as chocolate, mince pies and Christmas pudding are toxic for pets along with alcohol so these should be kept well out of reach.

Kerry Taylor, Blue Cross, said: “Christmas is a time for family and loved ones for many but our survey shows just how much our trusted four-legged friends mean to us too and how much companionship and joy they bring to our lives.

“Our pets are there for us whatever the day of the year and while plenty will be joining the whole family for celebrations, for some people their pets are the only companion or family they have.”

For more tips on keeping your pet safe this Christmas visit


Notes to Editors 

•    Pet images available, contact the media office
•    Research undertaken by Opinion Matters between September 29 and October 4 2017 with 1,006 dog and/or cat owners (past and present)
•    Abandoned or unwanted, ill or injured, pets turn to us for help every year. Our doors are always open to them, and with your support, they always will be.
•    Each year, thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses turn to our animal hospitals, clinics and rehoming services for treatment and to find them the happy homes they deserve. Pets Change Lives. We Change Theirs.
•    For more information, please visit

Media contact

Emma Sword: [email protected] / 020 7932 4063

Media team: [email protected] / 0300 777 1950