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A new poll has revealed many British parents have caved into their children’s pestering and bought a family pet – only to regret it.

In the research commissioned by Scruff-a-Luvs, four in ten adults put their child’s longing for a pet down to social media and the constant stream of cute animal images. Over a quarter (26%) said their kids were influenced by celebrities strutting around with certain breeds of dogs.

Out of the 2,000 parents polled, a staggering three-quarters of parents bought a pet for their child, hoping it would teach them responsibility and duty, but one in ten were forced to give the pet away. 11% said their kids begged them for a pet and swore they would look after it, but one in ten admitted they regretted buying the animal because of the work involved which landed on their shoulders. Almost one third (thirty percent) reckoned their kids barely pay any attention to the pet.

Twelve percent said family life would be easier if they didn’t have a pet and common grumbles included restrictions on family holidays, days out and even work trips away, while more than one in twenty complained having a pet restricted them having friends over.

It’s not all bad news though as 17% said getting a pet had brought their family together, and almost half (47%) said their pet is now one of the family.  

Logan Stone from Scruff-a-Luvs says, “We know that children love animal toys and wanted to undertake a study to discover more about the pet-owning habits of UK families.

Deciding whether to buy a pet is a huge decision for a family and the research reveals the desire for pet-ownership in British households, bringing out children’s desire to nurture and care for another being. The popularity of pet and pet rescue videos online is testament to the fact that we are a nation of animal lovers. Yet it’s important to think very carefully before buying a pet, as it is a huge responsibility and can be very hard work.

We know animal rescue videos online are hugely popular. Scruff-a-Luvs are all about animal rescue and adoption where children can rescue a sad ball of matted fur and through care and grooming, transform it into a plush pet. For each toy purchased, we’re donating some of the proceeds to the RSPCA to help real animals find their forever homes too.”

The most popular breeds for families to seek out were Pugs, Labradoodles and Cockapoos, but health issues often associated with flat faced breeds like Pugs means owners can often be unprepared. Ponies, snakes, reptiles and rodents were the most common pets that parents wished they hadn’t bought.  

Dr Samantha Gaines of the RSPCA said, “We care for animals of all shapes and sizes in our animal centres. In the past year we rescued and collected 114,584 animals and found new homes for more than 44,611 animals. We would urge people not to be led by how an animal looks or how cute they are but to get to know their amazing personalities. They are all individuals with their own unique personalities and are looking for a new family to care for them and give them a forever home – just like the Scruff-a-Luvs.”

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