Newport , United Kingdom (PressExposure) December 16, 2009 -- This year, cats and dogs across the UK can look forward to a very Happy Christmas indeed - with an estimated Â£157m* worth of festive goodies in their Christmas stockings.
New research** from leading insurance comparison website Gocompare.com reveals that most owners (69 per cent) will be buying Christmas presents for their pet, spending on average Â£10.86 on each animal. Food treats (59 per cent) and toys (56 per cent) top the gift list. Over a third of dogs and cats can expect to wake up to a Christmas stocking, while a quarter will receive a special Christmas meal and 11 per cent already have an advent calendar.
The majority (63 per cent) of cat and dog owners admit they will spend more on Fido and Mog this Christmas than on many of their close friends. Many will also spend more pampering their pet than their partner or close relatives. Fourteen per cent plan to spend more on their pets than their partner, 13 per cent say their parents will be getting less than their pets, while over a quarter (26 per cent) say that they will give more expensive gifts to their cat or dog than to other close relatives.
However, the research also showed that despite the lavish spending, nearly 60 per cent of cat and dog owners still don't have pet insurance, though it can start from as little as Â£3.70 a month***.
Lee Griffin, business development director at Gocompare.com, said, "For many people their cat or dog is as much a part of the family as Auntie Mable, so it is perhaps only natural that they should want to share the joys of Christmas gift giving with them. Sadly, it looks like more thought may have gone into the dog's present than for some of the other people sat round the Christmas table this year. It is a growing trend, and retailers are being more creative each year with their pets Christmas range, so it looks like catnip advent calendars and Santa costumes for dogs are set to become Christmas traditions in this country.
"However, it is important to remember that caring for our pets doesn't just mean including them in the Christmas celebrations. Vet's bills can rival the post-Christmas January credit card statement when it comes to unwelcome surprises, therefore having insurance to cover such events can make a lot of sense."
Gocompare.com launched its pet insurance comparison service for cat and dog owners earlier this year. Gocompare.com's service is the first true pet insurance comparison to be provided by any UK comparison site. Currently, visitors to Gocompare.com can compare 16 different per insurance policies and see at a glance which policy gives them the right cover for the right price.
For further information please contact: Lynsey Walden or Anders Nilsson at Gocompare.com on 01633 654 055 / 01633 657 599 Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845
Notes to Editors: *According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) there are 7.3 million dogs and 7.2 million cats in the UK. Therefore 14.5 million cats and dogs multiplied by the average spend per animal of Â£10.86, gives us a total spend of Â£157m.
**Research commissioned by Gocompare.com. Carried out with 1500 UK adults in December 2009 by Loudhouse Research.
***Cover provided by Animal Friends Insurance. This is a 'max benefit' policy that provides Â£10,000 worth of cover towards vet's fees in the event of an accident, up to a maximum of Â£2,000 per ailment, per year.