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 48.5% of those aged 25-34 and 49% of those aged 35-44 agreeing.
Some 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.
As well as this, 20% of people saying they’d prefer to spend the day with their pet. Some 31% of 25-34 year old’s agreed.
Furthermore, 61% of people said they would prefer to spend the day with their pet rather than their neighbours or 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 of UK pet owners said they would be getting their pet a Christmas present this year, with 38% making sure 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 treated to a share of the Christmas dinner, with 38% enjoying a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and 9% being given a special treat for dinner.
Blue Cross welcomes pets being part of the big day but warns owners to be mindful this Christmas.
The charity says that pets should only be given a small portion of the Christmas dinner, while some food and drink such as chocolate, mince pies, alcohol and Christmas pudding are toxic for pets.
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.”