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New survey reveals the emotional and financial cost of leaving your family pet behind

London: 4 March, 2016: As a nation of pet owners, among whom nine out of ten (89.7%) regard our pet as a true member of the family, it appears we simply cannot bear the thought of going on holiday without taking the family pet – according to a new survey of pet owners released today. Yet many pet owners will not holiday abroad as they consider it impossible or too difficult to take their pet with them. Holidays with pets can easily be achieved when you travel by ferry.

More than two thirds of us (68%) claim our pet dog or cat is the greatest worry when thinking about who we might have to leave behind when going on holiday- with the Scots worrying about their left-behind pet the most (74.7%), and those in the South West the least (60.8%). However our no-pet-on-holiday worries still beat hands down any concerns we might have for left-behind humans – from our grandma/grandpa (7.3%); mother or father-in-law (4.4%); best friend (4.3%), or boyfriend/girlfriend (3.3%) .

When it comes to comparing leaving family pets behind with material possessions or comforts, then pets, at 46%, are right up there, too, of what we miss most, compared with other personal items we cannot fit into a holiday suitcase, such our own bed (29.5%); a good cup of tea (14.6%); our computer (14%); our family car (7.8%); our large-screen TV (6.7%); our bicycle (4.9%); and our own slippers (2.6%).

Emotional pet strains…..

Mostly likely to cry in the family when leaving the family pet in the arms of a dog kennel maid at holiday time is Mum at 19.5%, (rising to a particularly tearful 31.6% among Welsh Mums), followed by young daughters under 10 (9.7%). Young sons under 10 are also not immune from bursting into tears at 6.2%, as are Dads and older daughters aged 10-18, who tied in the pet crying stakes at 5.3%… though once again Welsh dads seem to be the greatest softies in this respect with 8.8% admitting to blub over missing their pet. Made of sterner stuff are older boys aged 10-18, with only 0.9% being said to shed a tear when bidding Fido a temporary farewell.

Leaving your pet behind certainly causes a guilt complex among the family, with 52.5% of survey respondents saying their state of mind at this juncture was “Guilty”, followed by “Tearful” (17.5%), “Miserable” (13.7%) and a further 9.2% admitting to other emotions. Feeling most guilty in this respect are those from Scotland (57.8%), closely followed by pet owners in the West Midlands (57.7%) and N. Ireland (57.1%).

…and those kennelling or pet sitter costs

Over half of us (51.8%) expect to pay between £51-£100 a week for inclusive holiday kennelling or cattery fees, while 23% expect to part with between £101-£150 in fees a week… and that is per pet. A further 5.5% are expecting to part with around £151-£200 per week, and some 2.8% think nothing of shelling out more than a mouth-watering £200 a week for their Fido or Fifi to be looked after in the lap of luxury during the holidays. In London, kennel and cattery costs tend to be even higher, with twice the number, 5.6%, expecting to pay more than £200 a week.

Dog or cat sitter fees are not insignificant, either, with 28.4% expecting to pay up to £50 inclusive a week; 18.4% between £51-75 per week; 16.3% between £76 and £100 a week, and nearly 8% expecting their pet sitter to cost more than £100 per week. Perhaps surprisingly, among those pet owners living in Yorkshire and Humberside, 10.7% expect to pay over £100 a week for a dog or cat sitter, and again that is per pet.

The independent One Poll “Holiday Pet Survey”, carried out last month (February) among a random sample of 2,000 adult pet owners, was commissioned by Discover Ferries, to find out just what causes us the most emotional and financial stress about who or what we have to leave behind.

Ferries solve the family pet problem

“Luckily, it is a problem simply solved when you travel by ferry on your holidays – as you can take your pet with your family in the car. All Discover Ferries member operators allow you to carry pets such as dogs, cats or ferrets under the “Pet Passport” scheme to the Continent, and without to islands within the UK, while the pet ticket price on ferries is typically around £35-£40 per trip. This is a fraction of those kennelling or dog sitting costs, and much less hassle,” said Bill Gibbons, director of Discover Ferries.

Holidays with pets are straightforward by ferry. If you want to avoid those tears by taking your pet on a ferry, perhaps for the first time, see the Pet Travel regulations on www.govt.uk/take-pet-abroad and then visit  the website of your chosen ferry operator for pet travel information. It will save you from going barking mad with worry.

Thinking of taking your dog on holiday?