Posted 21st Apr 2017
Did you know there are an estimated 54 million pets currently living in the UK?
Of these, around 16.5 million are cats and dogs, which has prompted IAMS to put the nation's pet parenting skills to the test to find out exactly what makes our furry friends happy.
A survey of 200 UK pet owners has revealed there is an art to mealtimes. The typical UK cat or dog will enjoy breakfast at 7:43am, with dinner served exactly 10 hours and 55 minutes later - at precisely 6:28pm.
94 per cent of dog owners will give their pet a daily treat, while nearly a third (27 per cent) admitted to offering them human snacks. While cats are treated less often, they still seem to enjoy some of the finer things in life, such as tuna and chicken.
On top of this, 30 per cent only exercise their dog for less than 30 minutes a day, which could perhaps explain why 49 per cent of dogs are considered to be overweight. Those who do walk their dogs daily see the average dog walk taking just over one hour for most medium sized breeds, such as Collies, Cocker Spaniels and Siberian Huskies.
When it comes to cats, they will enjoy 34 minutes of play each day, often ending up playing on their own and chasing things such as string or toys. Clearly exhausting the feline, cats will then nap more than twice day, with the particular sweet spot being five a day – with their favoured spot being the owner's bed. Only one in five UK pets will sleep in their own bed, with 54 per cent preferring to snooze on their owner's bed.
Dogs will typically take up more of their owner's time, requiring 61 minutes of play and 64 minutes of cuddles on a daily basis; 41 additional minutes being spent on play and cuddles compared to the average cat. Despite the more demanding nature of the canine, dog owners love spending time with their companions, with 53 per cent claiming dogs act as the perfect companion compared to only 23 per cent favouring cats.
Caring for your pet requires regular veterinary care, something which can be a challenge for UK cat owners. Just over a quarter (29 per cent) will regularly visit the vet to have their cat's teeth scaled and polished, and with dental disease a common condition for our pets, it could be time to lift the 'lip' and start to look inside our pet's mouth more often.
Recent reports show 76 per cent of pet owners look on their pet as their own child, yet this new research reveals that we could need to fine tune our pet parenting style to make sure our pets are happy and healthy.
IAMS Nutrition Expert Kellie Ceccarelli, believes there is a careful balance between what we think our pet is after, and what would actually help them have a long healthy and active life.
She said: "Showering our pets with love and affection is natural, and when faced with puppy-dog eyes, or an adorable cat brushing up against you, it can be hard not to give in to their demands. Giving in by feeding human foods, or foregoing a daily dog walk due to bad weather, may seem to please your pet, but in the long-term it can have damaging health implications, such as increasing the risk of heart problems, obesity and joint issues – particularly in older cats and dogs."
"The secret to perfect pet parenting is understanding what your pet needs to be happy and healthy. Providing a 100% complete and balanced diet rich in high quality proteins offering proven health benefits will be one less thing for you to worry about. Look out for diets containing high quality animal protein as the number one and therefore most plentiful ingredient."