28 per cent of us prefer our pet to our partner

When it comes to pupability, our pets may outnumber our partners with more than a quarter of Britons (28%) saying they prefer their furr friends, according to animal welfare experts. Itching.

This love for our pets led Itch’s team to create the first annual ‘Furr-ensic Index’ for pet welfare, which combines data from over 100,000 pets registered on their platform with consumer research, with one in 10 (9%) even says they prefer their pets over their partners every day.

The report is one of the largest pet welfare surveys in the country, also finding that as a nation we are moving away from traditional pet names like Rover or Rex, with pups named Bella being the best dogs, followed by Poppy and Lola. Meanwhile, for cats, Luna’s have scrawled their way to the top of the table.

2020 politics could also affect what people call their pets. There are 130 dogs in the UK called Boris (and even one called Big Bad Boris!).

Jack Russell Terriers lead the pup ularity pack, which is the nation’s most owned breed. Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Labrador Retrievers follow them in second and third place.

The origin of pets is also a hot topic: one in 10 (10%) prefer to buy from breeders because the pets are often ‘cuter’. On the other hand, 38% of Britons are proud ‘broad fighters’ who say they adopted their pet because they disagree with buying from breeders.

Pet parents in London adopt the most (42%), while Scots adopt the least (30%).

Some of the most popular puppies have a habit of packing on the pounds. Staffies, the third most popular dogs in the UK, weigh an average of 20.2kg, which is higher than the recommended healthy weight of 16-18kg.

Likewise, Chihuahuas weigh an average of 4.4kg in the UK, while ideally they should be closer to 3kg. While this may not seem like much, it’s a lot of extra weight to carry such small legs!

Dogs are a man’s best friend, right? Miss! As it turns out, we are a land of cat lovers. If you picked up 100 pets, there are probably 57 cats.

That said, Middlesbrough is barking this trend as the UK’s dog capital, with puppies in the minority of cats 42:58.

Animal diseases are also covered in the report, with more than a quarter of cat and dog owners (27 and 26%, respectively) expressing concern about worms. Since worms can go unnoticed in our pet’s intestines, it is even more important to deworm regularly.

In addition, nearly 4% of owners report that their pets show signs of anxiety. However, it appears that lockdown has brought some relief to the UK’s anxious pets. Despite changes to regular schedules, two-fifths of UK pet owners (20%) are now seeing signs that their pets are less anxious as they work more from home, especially since the second lockdown was announced. 2 Across the country, there are also 1.45 million pets that cool down even more during shutdown, despite the increased anxiety in their owners!

Zoe Costigan, GP at Itch, said: “Itch’s Furr-ensic Index report is a wealth of insights into the welfare of the UK’s pets, and with over a quarter of us preferring our pets over our partners, it is easy to see how important it is to take care of their health and wellness!

“We wanted to show how our pets are doing across the country, so whether they’re big, small, fluffy or bald, there are many things you can do to make sure they lead happy and healthy lives. Regular exercise, specific diets, and regular flea and worming treatments are definitely a good place to start! “

To view Itch’s Furr-ensic Report in full, visit the Itching website.

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