Over a third of British parents have given in to pester power to buy a family pet and ended up regretting it – with as many as one in ten giving the pet away again, according to a new study.
New research of the nation’s parents has revealed a staggering 75 percent of mums and dads have bought a cat or dog for their child, hoping it would teach them responsibility and duty, however the research shows as many as one in ten (11 percent) were forced to give the pet away again and a third admit they regretted buying the animal.
Of the 2,000 parents polled, 11 percent said their kids begged them to get a family pet and swore they would look after it, with one in twenty saying they only gave in and bought a dog or cat after TWO YEARS of constant nagging.
One in ten pet owners said they regretted buying the animal because of all the work that landed on their shoulders, while 12 percent said their family life would be much easier if it weren’t for their four-legged friends.
Dr Samantha Gaines of the RSPCA commented on the findings: “In the past year we rescued and collected 114,584 animals and found new homes for more than 44,611 animals. We would urge people not to be led by how an animal looks or how cute they are but to get to know their amazing personalities. They are all individuals with their own unique personalities and are looking for a new family to care for them and give them a forever home.”
Common grumbles were that animals restricted family holidays, days out and even work trips away, while more than one in twenty even complained that having a pet restricted them having friends over – but thirty percent of those polled reckon their kids barely pay the pet any attention and mum and dad do the bulk of the work.
The majority of parents (78 percent) believe that having a pet teaches children how to care for another being, while three quarters say that it helps them learn about responsibility and duty, and 58 per cent that it helps them understand how to love and nurture.
29 percent thought it would be a good way to help their kids learn about sticking to a schedule, while 15 percent of parents said they had a pet when they were growing up and wanted the same for their children.
Four in ten adults said they believe social media posts of cute animals* contributed to their children longing for a pet and 26 per cent said their kids were influenced by celebrities strutting around with certain breeds of dogs.
The most popular breeds for families to seek out were pugs, labradoodles and cockapoos. However there are a raft of health issues associated with the popular breeds like pugs which prospective owners are often unaware of or prepared for.
But ponies, snakes, reptiles and rodents were the most common pets that parents wished they hadn’t bought for their kids.
The survey discovered, the average pet owner said they spend 10 hours a week caring for their animal and on average spend £50 a month on food and animal supplies.
Logan Stone from Scruff-a-Luvs who commissioned the poll to mark the launch of the new plush toy, said: “We know that children love animal toys and wanted to undertake a study to discover more about the pet-owning habits of UK families.
“Deciding whether to buy a pet is a huge decision for a family and the research reveals the desire for pet-ownership in British households, bringing out children’s desire to nurture and care for another being. The popularity of pet and pet rescue videos online is testament to the fact that we are a nation of animal lovers. Yet it’s important to think very carefully before buying a pet, as it is a huge responsibility and can be very hard work.
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“We know animal rescue videos online are hugely popular. Scruff-a-Luvs are all about animal rescue and adoption where children can rescue a sad ball of matted fur and through care and grooming, transform it into a plush pet. For each toy purchased, we’re donating some of the proceeds to the RSPCA to help real animals find their forever homes too.”
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