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In the UK, many pets are treated as part of the family and that means including them in as much as possible – the festive season being no different.

With Christmas just around the corner, it may come as no surprise that new research has shown eight out of ten dog and cat owners will be placing a present under the tree for their four-legged friend.

A survey by Mars Petcare UK and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home found that a whopping 81% of dog owners who celebrate Christmas will be shopping for something special for their canine companion. Around 40 per cent of the 498 UK dog owners plan to spend over £10 on a gift for Fido, whilst almost a quarter plan to spend up to £20.

Almost a quarter of dog owners plan to spend up to £20 on a gift for their dog

Cats don’t get quite the same treatment, with only 17% of cat owners who celebrate Christmas saying they would spend over £10 on their pet, compared to 31% who claimed they would be spending nothing on their cat.

Gosia Faras, Corporate Affairs Director at Mars Petcare UK says, “The UK is renowned for being a nation of animal lovers, so it’s no surprise that people want to treat their pets at Christmas. Pets really are part of the family, with 64% of owners wanting to include their pet in their seasonal celebrations. But it’s not just pet owners – at Christmas 21% of pet seasonal sales are bought by non-pet owners who want to treat the pets of family and friends.”

But how are they treating their pooch? The research found that giving tidbits from the Christmas dinner is the most popular choice, with nearly three quarters admitting they give their dog turkey from the meal.

Battersea Veterinary Surgeon, Claire Turner, says, “It’s great that people treat their pets so generously at this time of year, but it’s also important to remember that certain ‘human’ foods can pose a threat to their health. Dogs and cats alike are intolerant to many of our favourite festive foods. Alcohol, chocolate, onions and some cheeses are all part of a long list of things that can be toxic for dogs and cats, along with raisins which we know are in many festive favourites like mince pies and Christmas cake. While titbits from the Christmas plate may have them licking their lips, we would always recommend giving your dog or cat a treat that’s been specifically designed for them, so you know it’s formulated for their needs.”

Help homeless hounds

Sadly not all animals will be so lucky this Christmas. The research coincides with the 10th anniversary of Mars Petcare UK supplying meals and treats for Battersea residents, and it’ll be marked this year with a new partnership with Tesco. for every pack purchased from the Mars Petcare seasonal range in Tesco, Mars will donate 15p to Battersea to continue the charity’s work in helping stray and abandoned pets.

For every pack purchased, Mars will donate 15p to Battersea

Gosia Faras says, “To celebrate the tenth year of partnership between Mars Petcare UK and Battersea, we’ve partnered with Tesco to help raise £100,000 for the much-loved animal charity this Christmas. The mechanic is simple – for every pack purchased from the Mars Petcare seasonal range in Tesco, we’ll donate 15p to Battersea to continue to support the fantastic work they do to eradicate pet homelessness by helping stray and abandoned pets find a new home. Whether you choose to spend £10 or £100 on a festive gift for your pet, choosing to treat them with something from our special range means it’s not only your own dog or cat that will be receiving a treat this Christmas.”

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