Top Christmas gifts Brits give to pets – including a new bed and a collar

A new toy, a new bed, and a new collar are some of the top Christmas gifts that Brits plan to treat their pets to this Christmas, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 cat or dog owners found that eight in ten will splash out on festive treats for their furry friend, spending an average of £31.30.

Other top gifts for pooches or pussycats include being cooked their own animal-friendly Christmas meal (15%), and even being treated to a pet-friendly tipple.

In fact, almost a quarter (23%) have even bought their pet more presents than their partner this year, the research revealed.

A hopeful 13% have even bought their pet a festive jumper to wear on the big day – although just 38% of these think they will wear it willingly.

And 35% think their cat or dog would have some reservations about donning a novelty Santa hat.

Neil Rogers, from M&S Pet Insurance, which commissioned the research, said: “The results of our study show we’re willing to go the extra mile for our furry friends.

“Christmas is a time to treat the ones we love, and to show our family and friends how much they mean to us.

“It’s great to see that our pets, who bring us so much joy day-to-day, are included in this special time of the year.”

The research also found 75% see their cat or dog as a key member of the family – while 79% get joy out of seeing their furry companion happy and living their best lives.

Yet, despite wanting to spoil their four-legged companion with wrapped presents, and even take them along to a Christmas meal out, almost a third (31%) do not have pet insurance in the event that anything should happen to their beloved friend.

The top reason for not purchasing pet insurance is the perceived cost of the policy, while others feel they won’t need it – and 15% believe it is too complicated to set their pets up with coverage.

Separate research, from the Association of British Insurers, revealed the average veterinary bill, for any animal in 2021, cost £848.

And the M&S Pet Insurance study found that, in the event of such a bill, only half of pet owners (51%) would be in a comfortable position to pay it.

While 45% of pet owners have faced an unexpected pet emergency in the past.

It also emerged the average pet family will typically have three unexpected vet bills over the course of their pet’s lifetime, totting up to £344.

Neil Rogers added: “Taking out insurance – and selecting a policy that’s right for you and your pet – can provide peace of mind for pet owners.

“This is especially worth considering at this time of year, when there are often more potential pet hazards around the home – like baubles, tinsel, chocolates, candy canes, and more.”

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PET SAFE AT CHRISTMAS, FROM KIRSTY CAVILL, HEAD NURSE AT VETFONE…

  1. Festive foods to avoid – Traditional Christmas treats, like chocolate, mince pies, Christmas cake, and nuts, are harmful to dogs and cats, so try to keep them hidden. The same goes for presents under the tree containing food – even the best-behaved pet can be tempted to investigate.
  2. Feeling thirsty? – Don’t let your pet drink the water from the base of the Christmas tree, as fertiliser in the soil means it could be harmful.
  3. Prickly paws – Real Christmas trees are well known for shedding their needles as soon as you bring them home, so check your pet’s paws regularly to make sure no pesky pines have become stuck in there.
  4. Festive foliage – Many of the plants we bring into our homes at this time of year can be problematic for our pets. Any poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, and ivy should be kept out of your pet’s reach to ensure they aren’t tempted to take a closer look.
  5. Look but don’t touch – Our pets are curious creatures and love to investigate things, and not surprisingly, are often tempted to play with tinsel and baubles during the festive period. However, if ingested, they can cause blockages and make your pet very unwell, so be sure to keep them away from playful paws.

TOP FESTIVE TREATS FOR BRITISH PETS…

  1. A new toy
  2. Some new treats
  3. Presents properly wrapped so they can open them with the family
  4. A night cuddled up watching a festive film
  5. Eating Christmas dinner as a family
  6. A new bed
  7. A new collar
  8. Cooking them a special, animal-friendly Christmas dinner
  9. An advent calendar
  10. A Christmas jumper
  11. A new winter jacket for cold walks
  12. A Christmas card
  13. Pet-friendly tipple
  14. A trip away to a pet-friendly location
  15. Bringing them to a Christmas meal out