21 December 2022

  • Co-op research shows over three-fifths (62%) of pet owners will be buying Christmas presents for their dogs and cats this year, with four-fifths (82%) planning to spend up to £50 on spoiling their pets this Christmas
  • However, Aunties and Uncles set to lose out, as two fifths (40%) of those planning to spend £50 on pets say they won’t spend anything on gifts for their extended family
  • Co-op warns how sharing Christmas leftovers can pose unwanted health problems, as over a quarter (27%) plan to make their pet a special Christmas meal with leftovers

A new study from Co-op Insurance has revealed that despite the rising cost of living the UK is set to spend an average of up to £873 million* on presents for dogs and cats this Christmas, as four-fifths (82%) of pet owners are planning to spoil their beloved cats and dogs, by spending up to £50 on gifts as part of the festivities this year.

Despite the pinch, three-fifths (61%) of cat and dog owners agree they like to spend money on their pets at Christmas, and this year they won’t be cutting back. Unfortunately, it looks like Aunties and Uncles are set to lose out, as two fifths (40%) of those planning to spend up to £50 on pets say they won’t spend anything on gifts for their extended family.

Over three-fifths (62%) of dogs and cats in the UK will be receiving their own Christmas present this year, with over a nearly a quarter (23%) set to feed their pet from their own Christmas Dinner plate. Some pet owners (4%) are even go so far as giving their pets Christmas card - despite pets not being able to read!

Ways people include their pets at Christmas time:

  1. They give them Christmas presents (62%)
  2. They give them special Christmas toys (43%)
  3. They give them more food treats (43%)
  4. They go on a special Christmas walk (25%)
  5. Make their pet a special Christmas meal with leftovers (27%)
  6. Feed their pet from their own Christmas Dinner plate (23%)
  7. They give them an advent calendar (15%)
  8. They let their pets sit at the dinner table (13%)
  9. They put them in a Christmas Jumper (8%)
  10. They're allowed to sleep in owner's bed (7%)
  11. They give them a Christmas card (4%)

The new data also points towards a rise in Empty Nest Syndrome, with 91% of pet owners 55 and over saying they are planning to buy their furry friend a Christmas gift. This is compared to 84% of those aged 25-34 and 64% of Gen Z animal lovers.

With over a quarter (27%) of dog and cat owners planning to make their pet a special Christmas meal with leftovers, be warned, it’s sharing Christmas leftovers that can pose unwanted problems. From pet poisonings, to gaining a few extra pounds, a pet's wellbeing can be impacted. The most common heart conditions in pets are linked back to obesity, so be sure to re-think the offerings this year, and opt for something on the healthier side. It’s important to do the research and avoid popular festive ingredients causing poisoning in animals, such as chocolate, grapes, garlic, onions, and even poinsettias.

Andrew Nevitt at Head of Co-op Pet Insurance said: "Despite the cost of living, it seems we’re still a nation looking to include our pets in family traditions, with Christmas being a time when pet owners obviously want to make sure their dogs and cats are included in the celebrations.

"Our research proves how much our pets really mean to us, so although it’s important to many to include their pets in Christmas – and in many cases take the opportunity to spoil their pets, it’s important to keep our furry friends safe. So keep them away from those Christmas chocolates.

“Despite the festivities, we also advise animal lovers to closely monitor their pets’ food intake, as their weight and appetite can be the tell tale signs of several health concerns. Overfeeding your pet at Christmas, or offering them a one-off taste of human food, may do more harm to them than initially thought, so it’s best to stick to treats specifically manufactured for them in order to avoid unwanted trips to the vet this winter.”

For more information about Co-op Pet Insurance plans, which includes 24/7 access to vets online, visit: https://www.coop.co.uk/insurance/pet-insurance


Note to Editors: *Based on Cat and Dog owner figures from 21.3 million cats and dogs are pets in the UK and 82% are bought presents which is 17.46 million x up to £50 = £873 million spent on cats and dogs over Christmas.

About the research: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2061 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd December 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Press Contact: pressoffice@coop.co.uk / halpernlifeservices@halpern.co.uk

About Co-op: The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, and legal services. Owned by over 4 million UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Niza Retail Limited. Employing over 63,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of £11.5 billion. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.