Short-term festive fun: pets still abandoned after Xmas as families can’t cope

22 December 2015

  • Only a quarter (27%) of pet owners said they would never give up their pet
  • Almost a quarter of people (23%)  would consider giving up their pet when having a baby
  • 8% of pet owners admitted giving up their pet when their offspring arrived

A pet should be a lifetime commitment, not just bought on a whim as a gift, yet each year more than 30% of UK dogs are abandoned in the first three months of the year, following the festive period.*

Research from Co-op Insurance shows that people are still not giving proper consideration to the responsibilities of owning a pet before they buy one, as only a quarter of current pet owners (27%) believe they would never contemplate giving up their furry friend.**

As the festive period fast approaches, Co-op Insurance is urging people to think seriously about the reality of owning a pet and how this would fit with their lifestyle, as almost two in five people in a relationship (39%) had no idea what would happen to their pet if they split up with their partner.  Only a third (34%) said they would keep their pet if this happened to them.

According to dog adoption site, two thirds (67%) of animal rescue centres say dog abandonment is getting worse and 11% believe the main reason is because owners are unwilling or unable to cope with family dynamic changes such as a relationship split.*

Adding a new-born to the family also has a big impact, as almost a quarter of pet owners (23%) would consider giving up their animal when having a baby and 8% of people have already done this because their offspring came along.

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

“Pets are often at the heart of family life but owning a pet takes time, patience and a significant emotional investment.  Pets need a lot of looking after, from training to walking and grooming, not to mention the financial implications.  There are often hidden financial costs too, such as vets’ fees if your dog or cat gets ill, so it pays to protect against these with pet insurance.

“We would urge anyone who is thinking about buying a pet to consider the implications of owning one and to think about whether this will fit in with any long-term plans they may have.  The type of animal people get should also complement their lifestyle, schedule and energy levels, as pets also need to have fun too!”

Notes to editors

* is the UK's largest dog adoption site. Launched in 2007, the site works with more than 400 animal rescues and rehoming centres and has helped almost 36,000 dogs find new homes.  Research (2013 to 2014).
**Research conducted by One Poll on behalf of The Co-op among 2,000 UK adult pet owners

For further information contact:

Alex Wilson – Press & Media Relations Manager at The Co-operative
Telephone: 0161 767 4281/07540 641368