Pampered pets UK!

Owners would rather spend less on themselves than let their cats go without

The economy has tanked for a second time, and shoppers are tightening their belts. But the nation's army of animal lovers is still splashing out on gourmet food for their pets, with owners willing to sacrifice their own lifestyles to make sure Fido gets his treats.

While eight in 10 consumers have changed their grocery shopping habits to save money, new research shows only one in 10 pet owners have cut back on what they spend on their animals. It finds 42 per cent spoil pets with treats even though their budgets are tight, with more than half of dog owners indulging their pooches with Christmas stockings.

In fact, the British devotion to animals is such that more than a third of owners claim they would cut back on spending on their own food before that of their pet. "Whether they actually would is questionable, but that just goes to show people do feel strongly about their pets' food," said Kiti Soininen of market analysts Mintel, who wrote the new report. "About two-thirds say they treat their pet with as much care as they would a child, which shows pets are very much seen as a member of a family, and that level of emotional connection shows why people are reluctant to cut back."

She said that during the recession people were still looking for "affordable treats", whether it was chocolate, wine or something for their animal. Dog snacks and treats made up 28 per cent of pet product launches in 2011.

More than half of adults have a pet, with cats just edging out dogs as the most popular companion. The UK pet food and supplies market, worth an estimated £2.7bn, has been quite resilient during the downturn, with "super-premium brands" such as Gourmet, Sheba and Cesar performing well last year. The majority of owners (63 per cent), surveyed in December, said they expect the same quality standards from pet food as they do their own food.

Stephanie Mehanna owns Canine Cookie Company, a pet bakery based in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex that supplies additive-free pet treats such as chicken and organic catnip kitty caviar, liver-flavoured pup-corn and "happy barkday" cakes. She has seen turnover double in each of the past three years as owners become more aware of what goes into pet food.

Harrods' Pet Kingdom, which has a pet spa offering vanilla and blueberry facials, wash and fluff drys and reiki healing, has "substantially increased" its product offering in recent years to meet demand. Later this month, it is launching Italian pasta dishes, including cheese ravioli with duck sauce, for dogs. Some owners prefer to dress their pets in designer clothes, with a Mulberry angora mix dog sweater costing £125. A four-poster pet bed will set you back £700.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick