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50% rise in pets given as gifts

A shocking 1.3 million people have received pets as presents in 2015 – a 50 percent increase since 2012, a new report by the PDSA has shown.*

The vet charity urges people not to give pets as surprise gifts this Christmas, as findings from its annual PAW Report** highlighted that a lack of pre-purchase research could contribute to pet welfare problems.

Pets taken on with no research may miss out on what they need to lead healthy, happy lives and go on to become stressed, lonely, obese or aggressive, says PDSA.

Commenting, PDSA head of pet health and welfare, and vet, Nicola Martin, said: “PDSA is urging people to think long and hard before giving a pet as a gift. Our research reflects the nation’s love of pets, but receiving one out of the blue means the recipient is unlikely to be prepared for the commitment they will need to make for the lifetime of that animal.

“The novelty can quickly wear off if the owner is not fully committed, leading to pets having their welfare needs neglected or even in some cases being abandoned.”

The PDSA launched its #PawsFirst campaign which highlights the problem of rushing into getting a pet without understanding their needs first.

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*6 percent of pet owners responded to ‘Which, if any, of the following did you do before you chose your pet?’ with ‘nothing – he/she was a present. 44.6 percent of the population own a dog, cat or rabbit and the current UK adult population is 50,909,098 (Source: Office for National Statistics) 6% x 44.6% x 50,909,098 = 1,362,327 owners.
**The total sample size was 5,152 pet owners aged 18+ who live within the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11 December 2014 and 26 March 2015. 5,152 owners of cats, dogs and rabbits were interviewed via YouGov’s online research panel. The figures have been weighted to be representative of the population by pet species and the owner’s gender, age and geographic region.

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