And they call it "Puppy Love"...One in ten owners set to treat their pets this Valentine's Day

11 February 2016

  • 12% of dog and cat owners will buy gifts and cards  for their pets
  • 19% of people will spend the same amount on their pet as their partner
  • The average Valentine’s gift will cost £23

The love that pet owners have for their feline friends and canine companions has been cemented as new research from Co-op Insurance reveals  more than one in 10 cat and dog owners (12%) will join the rush to buy  Valentine’s gifts and cards this year. *

Cupid’s arrow really has struck when it comes to some pet owners with pets taking an equal standing on Valentine’s Day.  One in five owners (19%) are planning to spend the same amount of money on a gift for their pet as their partner – the average costing £23. 

Men are more generous as they plan to spend more on their pets this Valentine’s Day with an average of £27 being spent, in comparison to women who plan to pay out £19.

The most popular choice of gift for four-legged friends is a special meal (36%) and one in five pet owners (21%) would go to the trouble of cooking it themselves.   Treats, toys and animal-friendly chocolate are also amongst the most popular items.

Pets in London (22%) are more likely to receive a Valentine’s treat than in any other region, whilst pets in Northern Ireland are unlucky in love with only 4% set to receive anything.

The research has found that many owners are planning to pamper their pets with a grooming session, however caution is needed when it comes to beauty treats. The research has revealed that a small number of owners are planning to dye their pet’s hair and even apply nail varnish to their paws which is not recommended due to the possible side effects which include skin irritation and even vomiting. 

When faced with a choice about who they would rather spend the day with, their pet or their partner, two in five owners (40%) said they wouldn’t part with either, preferring to spend it with both of them.  One in 10 (9%) admitted their furry friend took priority, declaring they love their pet more than their partner and two in five (41%) would cancel a romantic trip away or a date  if their dog or cat needed them.

However, according to the research, the role of matchmaker shouldn’t be underestimated either, as when it comes to relationships, 21% said their pet had played a role in helping a romantic relationship to blossom.  Reasons for this included meeting their partner at the vets, via pet sitting or while out walking their pet.

David Hampson, Head of Pet Insurance at Co-op, said:

“Pets are often at the heart of family life and the research demonstrates the lengths that people are prepared to go to, in order to guarantee that their pets are happy.  It is heart-warming to see how the special bond between an owner and their dog or cat can make such a huge difference to daily life.

“Whilst some people do like to pamper and beautify their cats and dogs, we wouldn’t advise dying hair or fur or using cosmetics available for humans as these can contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to animals with sensitive skin.  They can also cause dangerous reactions and other side effects including vomiting.”


Top 10 presents for dogs and cats this Valentine’s Day

  1. Special food
  2. Treats 
  3. Pet-friendly chocolate
  4. Toys
  5. A new collar
  6. Item of clothing
  7. New bedding
  8. Cuddly toy
  9. New walking gear 
  10. Grooming/pamper day

The research coincides with the launch of Co-op Insurance’s new Valentine’s social media campaign featuring the world premiere of ‘Puppy Love’, a music video from new band ‘The Rollin’ Bones’.  Thought to be the first time the song has been covered by a band of dogs, the video will run on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on 14 February.  The teaser video can be viewed here:


For more information

@coopinsurance and


Alex Wilson – Press & Media Relations Manager, The Co-operative
Tel: 0161 7674281/07540 641368

Jenna Moss - Press & Media Relations Manager, The Co-operative
Tel: 0161 767 4354/ 07770 441 828


Notes to editors:

For media purposes only
*On behalf of Co-op Insurance, OnePoll questioned 2,000 UK adult cat/dog owners