Animal loving Brits will spend over £54m* on gifts, cards and special meals for their pets this Valentine's Day.
New research from comparison site Gocompare.com has found that nearly a quarter of pet owners (24%) will do something special for their pets for Valentine's Day. In the survey, 16% said they intended to buy their furry, hairy or scaly friends a card, present or treat them to a special Valentine's Day meal, and 6% of owners said that they'd be buying a card for their pet to give back to them.
Those who splash out on their animals for Valentine's Day will spend an average of £9.42 on each pet, although 42% will £10.00 or more. Men are more generous with their pet affections, spending £10.85 on average per pet whilst women will spend an average of £7.92.
Around 5% of the population may be newly single after Valentine's Day, as 6 per cent of male and 5% of female pet owners said they would spend more on their pets than they would on their partner!
Pets with younger owners, aged 18 to 24, are five times more likely to get a present on Valentine's Day than those whose owners are over 55. The survey showed that 1 in 10 younger pet owners intend to buy their animals a Valentine's Day present.
However, younger owners are the least likely to have pet insurance to protect them and their pet from unexpected accidents and illnesses. It's the 45 to 54 year olds who are best prepared, with over a third (35%) having insurance for one or more of their pets compared to 27% of 18 to 24 year olds.
The research also confirmed that dogs are still a man's best friend - but only just. Of the male pet owners who took part in the research, 54% owned at least one dog with 53% owning at least one cat. Perhaps surprisingly the gap for women was greater, with 54% owning at least one dog and 49% at least one cat.
It's estimated that there are around eight million dogs and eight million cats in the UK. However, there are more pet fish in the UK than all other pets put together, with an estimated 40 to 50 million kept in indoor tanks and outdoor fishponds**.
Mark Greening, head of pet insurance at Gocompare.com, said: "It's often said that we're a nation of animal lovers and now it seems some pet owners want to express their affection with cards and gifts on Valentine's Day. Whilst it's lovely to see that many pets are in for a treat on Thursday, it's even more important that owners have pet insurance, which will look after their pets on every day of the year and not just on February 14th."
Notes to editors:
Research commissioned by Gocompare.com and carried out by OnePoll on the 31st of January 2013 with 2,000 UK pet owners aged 18 and over.
*22.4% of pet owners in the survey said they would spend something on their pets for Valentine's Day. 22.4% of 13m** households = 2,912,040. The sample group had an average of 1.98 pets. 1.98 x 2,912,040 = 5,765,839 pets being treated on Valentine's Day. Average spend per pet = £9.42. £9.42 x 5,765,839 = total Valentine's Day spend of £54,314,203
**According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, in 2012 48% of UK households had at least one pet. This is the equivalent of 13 million households. Other figures for pet populations also taken from the PFMA 2012 research - www.pfma.org.uk/pet-population/