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Britain’s got pets!

But where do the most dogs dwell and who is most fond of fish? PFMA reveals all!

 The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association[i] has been collecting regional pet population data for five years.  To mark the end of National Pet Month, April 7th- May 7th 2012,[ii] they are now delighted to be able to answer the questions animal lovers have been pondering for years; does the South home the most hamsters? Are there most Moggies in the Midlands?  Will you find most dogs in rural regions?

The survey undertaken with over 2, 000 members of the public reveals, for the very first time, the truth about the UK pet population and where, as a pet you will find your most desirable digs....[iii]

Pet

Region

% of ownership in region

National average ownership in Britain

Dog

Wales

33%

22%

Cat

South West, Wales

25%

19%

Indoor Fish

North East, Wales

13%

10%

Outdoor Fish

South West

11%

6%

Indoor Birds

East Midlands

4%

2%

Rabbit

North West, Yorkshire & Humber, South West, Wales

4%

3%

Guinea pigs

North East, East of England,

3%

2%

Hamsters

North East, Yorkshire & Humber, South West

3%

1%

 

Whilst some UK regions may not stand out as the place to live if you are particular pet, they still have their favourite pets....

Region

Pet

% of ownership in region

National average ownership in Britain

London

Cat

10%

19%

West Midlands

Dog

26%

22%

South East

Cat

23%

19%

Scotland

Dog

24%

22%

Northern Ireland

Dog

29%

22%

 

We spoke to some celebrity pet owners from around the country to see what they made of the results.

Welsh actress Lu Corfield, star of BBC daytime drama Doctors, lives with Norma, a four-year-old Poodle cross and 10-year-old rescue cat Audrey; Lu was not surprised to discover that Wales has the highest numbers of pet ownership in the UK: “I’m already proud of my homeland but these findings make me even more so!”

 “For me, pets make a house a home. I missed having four legged companions when I first moved from Wales to London and knew that the first thing I’d do when I had a place of my own with a garden was head to the nearest rescue centre.”

London had the lowest levels of pet ownership in the survey but for Dawn Porter, TV presenter who has made London her home, pets are an essential part of her life and she fits her busy London lifestyle around caring for Lilu, a Siamese cat, and Potato, a Jack Russell cross, responsibly:

“I work from home and I am alone a lot, so I like knowing there is another heart beat in the house.  They mean I don’t get lonely.”

She adds: “We take Potato with us wherever we can. But Lilu and I have travelled the world together. I have taken her home to Guernsey every Christmas since I have had her. I take her away for weekends, round to mates’ houses for dinner and she has even been to America with me a few times.”

PFMA’s research confirms that Britain is a nation of pet lovers with 48% of us now owning a pet, up 2% from 2011. 

Cats and dogs remain the most popular pets, excluding fish, with around 8 million of each living in the UK.  Regional statistics show dogs are more popular than cats in most parts of the country but in London and South East cats are the chosen companion.

Small furry pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice, are also becoming increasingly popular: UK pet owners care for around 3 million in total. 

The UK fish population stands at around 40 million with over 20 million fish kept in tanks indoors and over 20 million outdoors in ponds.

Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive of PFMA, is delighted with 2012’s pet population results, “Pet ownership has actually increased since the recession began, rising from around 7 million cats and 7 million dogs in 2008 to 8 million of each in 2009 and remaining stable since.”

“This undoubtedly reflects the huge benefits we get from our pets such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels[iv], fewer trips to the doctor[v] and reduced stress levels[vi].  Recent research by PFMA with teachers confirmed the benefits for children: 76% of teachers thought teaching children about pets would provide ‘valuable lessons applicable to many aspects of children’s life’ and 66% thought it aided their ‘personal growth and development’.[vii]

“While we can use this data light-heartedly to explore which parts of the country have preferences for particular pets and why that might be, the overall message is clear:  Britain loves its pets and caring for pets responsibly provides health and developmental benefits as well as simply making us smile.”

“On a more serious note, we are proud to be able to provide reliable pet population statistics, which help us to trace trends in the pet world, and are of use to the charities, government and associations with whom we work closely.”

 



[i] The principal trade body representing the UK pet food industry.  PFMA aims to be the credible voice of a responsible pet food industry. While striving to achieve a balanced regulatory environment for the production of nutritious and safe food, PFMA also encourages responsible pet ownership working in partnership with relevant pet bodies. It aims to be the main resource for its members, public and others as well as playing a lead role in forming opinions in Europe through the European Pet Food Federation (FEDIAF).

[ii] National Pet Month promotes the key messages of responsible pet ownership, the mutual benefits of living with pets, the role of pet care specialists and the value of working and assistance companion animals. It is a registered charity number 1114880 and is sponsored by Royal Canin, Companion Care Vets and Pets At Home. Trustees are the Pet food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), the Pet Care Trust and NOAH (National Office of Animal Health).

[iii] Each year PFMA commissions new research into the UK pet population conducted by TNS using face to face interviews on a representative sample of the UK pet population.  This research allows us to discover regional as well as national trends in pet ownership.  Research collated in March 2012 with over 2, 000 UK adults.

[iv] Anderson W: Does pet ownership reduce your risk for heart disease? Baker Medical Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Originally published in InterActions, Vol. 10, No. 3,, pp 12-13, 1992

[v] Jennings G. L: Animals and Cardiovascular Health - paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Human-Animal Interactions, Animals, Health and Quality of Life, Geneva, Switzerland, September 1995.

[vi] Allen, K, Blascovich J, Mendes W: Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends and spouses. The truth about cats and dogs. Psychosomatic Medicine 64, 2002.

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