Pets part of family

By Country News

Having one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, it is no surprise Aussies love their pets, but a new survey has found we are willing to go to extremes to keep them happy.

Australians are spending more than ever on their pets, and with animals now enjoying holidays, iPads and their own birthday cake, it seems our furry friends have moved from pampered to presidential.

A PETstock online survey of more than 800 Australian dog and cat owners conducted last year has found 58 per cent of owners purchase Christmas treats for their pets and 44per cent of owners would consider purchasing an airfare to take their pet on holiday.

PETstock chief executive officer Shane Young said animals were increasingly being treated as any other member of the family, and in some cases, even better.

‘‘Pets are now being included in important family milestones including Christmas, Easter, weddings and even have their own birthday celebrations,’’ Mr Young said.

‘‘Twenty-seven per cent of owners said their furry-friend has had their own pet birthday cake, 21 per cent provide pet-friendly chocolate at Easter and 60 per cent of owners would consider including their pet in their wedding ceremony.’’

Mr Young said if you felt like pets were popping up everywhere, you would not be wrong.

‘‘People are increasingly including their pets in everyday life — taking them to restaurants (25 per cent), including them in family portraits (23per cent), and booking flights to take them on holidays (four per cent).

‘‘Our survey also found that these behaviours are on the increase with a majority of respondents saying they’d consider including their pets in these activities.’’

Mr Young said it was understandable owners were willing to invest in technology to keep an eye on their animals when alone.

‘‘For most of us, pets being left alone for some portion of the day is unavoidable, but there’s nothing worse than the sad look on their face and the guilt you feel leaving them.

‘‘Pet cameras are a great way to check in on them when you’re gone and can help take away some of the stress of leaving.

‘‘Leaving pets with interactive toys is another great way to keep them happy while you’re away, we even had one respondent tell us their cat has its own iPad for when she’s home alone.’’