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Brits spending £600m to pamper pets, study finds

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·3-min read
A few small changes could save you money on bills without sacrificing the comfort of your pets. (MIKHAIL VASILYEV/Unsplash)
A few small changes could save you money on bills without sacrificing the comfort of your pets. Photo: Mikhail Vasilyev/Unsplash

Between heating, lighting, and even leaving the radio or TV playing for their furry friend, pet-owning Brits are spending nearly £600m ($789m) more on energy bills to keep their furry friend cosy and comfortable at home.

Cat owners spend an extra £585m, while dog owners fork out £514.7m more, with cat owners paying more for the use of electric fires and radiators, PDSA figures show.

Over a fifth (22%) of UK pet owners are more than happy to spend more money on energy bills to provide comfort for their pets, with 21% even claiming to care more about their pet's welfare and comfort than their own, according to a survey of 2,000 people by Confused.com.

In fact, 13% admitted to powering up an electric heating source for their beloved pet between three and seven times a week. Running an electric heater or radiator is the most expensive “creature comfort,” costing Brits £1,753 per year.

Regionally, pet owners in Oxford are the biggest spenders, forking out an extra £296, on average, per year.

At the other end of the spectrum, those in Plymouth only spend about £34, the survey found.

READ MORE: Brits spend £180m on their pets every month

Northern cities spend more on energy for their pets mostly due to increased heating demands as a result of colder weather.

Nearly one in 10 (8%) pet owners admitted to being unsure of how to save without sacrificing their animals’ comfort and happiness.

Certified animal behaviourist and BarketPlace founder Caroline Wilkinson provided a few tips on saving money while still keeping your animal comfortable.

1. Rely on natural light

Natural light is actually better for your pet, as they are less accustomed to artificial lights than humans. By leaving your lights on you may actually be disturbing their rest throughout the day, Wilkinson explained.

It’s better to open a curtain somewhere and let the daylight pour in, and it’ll save you money on your electricity bill too.

2. Reposition your pet’s bed

Place your pet’s bed a corner with lots of natural daylight to keep them warmer, Wilkinson advised.

It’s also better to stick to internal walls only, as external walls get much colder. This could save you quite a bit on heating.

3. Use layered blankets

If your pet’s bed is well-insulated, this will also prevent you from having to switch on the heating or use an electric heating source as often, Wilkinson said.

READ MORE: Five easy ways you can reduce your energy bills by hundreds of pounds

4. Stick to low-energy background noise

If your pets don’t react well to silence, leave a a radio or low-energy white nose machine on for them, Wilkinson advised.

This will cost you a lot less to run than a TV, and the savings on electricity could add up to a significant amount.

5. Bath your pet on warm days

If you have to give your pet a bath, pick a warmer day to do it whenever possible, Wilkinson said.

This way, they’ll be able to dry off naturally, rather than you having to whip the hair dryer out — saving you a considerable amount on electricity.