Rover by name, rover by nature: 40% of dog owners opt for UK holiday so canine companions don't miss out

30 April 2021

• Four in ten can’t bear to leave four-legged friend at home giving a further boost to British staycations

• Co-op Insurance urges motorists to ensure pooch is properly restrained en route to holiday or risk invalidating car cover

• Insurer also warns owners not to let their guard down in unfamiliar surroundings in face of dog theft epidemic

New research* from Co-op Insurance has revealed that almost 40% of dog owners would prefer to holiday in the UK with their beloved four-legged friend, rather than go abroad and be forced to leave them behind.

A whopping four in ten stated that it’s so ‘imperative’ that pup can join in the fun, that they’re not entertaining the idea of jetting off to foreign climes, instead opting to drive to British holiday hotspots such as Cornwall, the Lake District and Scotland.

The figures – which offer further proof that the UK continues to be a nation of animal lovers – means that up to 4.8 million** pooches could be setting off to popular holiday destinations with their humans this year.

However, Co-op Insurance chiefs are warning pet owners to make sure they’re staycation-savvy.

When it comes to bringing the family hound on holiday, people risk breaching the Highway Code if they drive with an unrestrained pet which may distract the driver. And in the event of an accident, it could actually negate insurance cover as well as resulting in a hefty fine.

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that ‘when in a vehicle, make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained’. Whilst there’s no direct penalty for breaking the Highway Code, motorists can still be fined up to £5,000 for careless driving if the police find an unrestrained pet in the car.

And once on holiday, Co-op Insurance is offering a stark reminder to dog owners to be on their guard in unfamiliar holiday surrounds as a dog theft epidemic continues to grip the country. Figures from Dog Lost*** show that dog theft rocketed 170% in 2020, compared to 2019.

Charles Offord, managing director of Co-op Insurance, says: “We know that many people have welcomed a dog into their home over the past year and it’s understandable that they want their four-legged family members to share in the holiday fun. However, many pet owners don’t realise they’re risking big penalties if they let their dog travel unrestrained in the car with them – not only is it against the law but it could invalidate their insurance, costing policy holders more money if they’re involved in an accident.

“And once people have reached their destination we’d remind them to be on their guard – both owners and their dogs will be in unfamiliar surroundings so they must remain alert if enjoying a drink on the beach or in a beer garden. Dog thieves can be opportunistic and a dog who looks lost is perfect prey.”

Eight top tips for taking a hound on holiday: • Check your motor insurance’s own rules for travelling with a dog. • Ensure you have suitable pet restraints for the car – such as a harness or crate so that your dog can travel safely and legally. • Use sunshades on car windows at all times and carry plenty of water for your canine companion. If your vehicle doesn’t have air-con don’t travel on very hot days and never leave your dog alone in the car in hot weather. • Never allow your dog to put its head out of the window, it could lead to a serious injury. • Take a familiar pet blanket or toy along to comfort your dog. • Make sure that your dog has a collar with your name and number engraved on it. Also, check your contact details on the microchip database are up to date. • Remember your dog will be in unfamiliar territory and could get lost more easily, putting it at greater risk from thieves. Don’t tie your dog up outside a shop. • If in rural beauty spots make sure your dog is on the lead and doesn’t stray into farmland where animals are grazing.

Information on Co-op Car Insurance can be found here. Information on Co-op Pet Insurance can be found here. ENDS Opinion Matters polled 2,022 UK adults between 4th and 8th March 2021. Total dog population is 12 million – PFMA data, September 2020 ** Figures from Dog Lost show that dog theft rocketed 170% in 2020, compared to 2019.

For further information please contact:

Vikki McCrindle/ vikki.mccrindle@coop.co.uk / 07773 096 868 Aimi McNeill/ aimi.mcneill@coop.co.uk / 07766 826704 Follow us @CoopUKpress on Twitter and Instagram Notes to editors:

About Co-op Insurance: Co-op Insurance is part of the Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, legal services and health. It has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 1,000 funeral homes and it provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. It has more than 63,000 colleagues and an annual revenue of over £10 billion.