New figures suggest animal lovers will spend more on their pets than their nearest and dearest over the festive season.
A survey found that owners will be spending an average of £19.98 on their pets compared to just £14.78 on their best friends.
While dads fared slightly better and can expect to receive an average spend gift of £23.59, the survey of 2,000 pet owners conducted by animalfriends.co.uk, found that only 59% of respondents planned to buy their dad a Christmas present at all – while a whopping 71% planned to surprise their pet.
Topping the gift list for pets are squeaky toys, followed by new collars, stockings and treats.
Over a quarter of pampered pets have their own stocking, 9% have their own Christmas decorations hung up and 13% can count the days until December 25 with their own advent calendar. In fact, over 22% of owners will send out a Christmas card or present, on their pet’s behalf.
Good news for retailers selling pet products. And it doesn’t stop with gifts, as over half of dogs can expect to receive some top treats for Christmas dinner, with pigs in blankets hailed the nation’s favourite seasonal snack.
And, as with everything, there are regional trends to how much pet owners plan to shell out on their furry companions. Owners in Brighton admit to spending a whopping £8.78 per Christmas meal for their dog, while those in Sheffield are most likely to give their pets their normal food on Christmas Day.
Newcastle owners spend more on their pets than their friends – on average £10.28 more on dogs and £8.51 on cats. Belfast and Gloucester followed, spending £9.82 and £6.95 respectively, on their cats than on their friends.
Spending the least on their pets were those in Chelmsford, followed by Portsmouth and Leicester.
Westley Pearson of Animalfriends.co.uk said: “It’s great to see so many pet owners getting in the Christmas spirit and sharing this special celebration with their animals.”
However, she warned of pets’ routines and exercise activities being neglected, as one in 10 pets are set to lose out on their usual walk as holiday traditions get in the way over the yuletide period Ms Pearson added: “It’s important to make sure pets gets the same level of exercise over the festive period too, particularly if they’ve been eating lots of tasty treats.”