It’s no secret that the UK is a pet-loving nation. As far as back as the 19th Century, Britain was the first country to afford charity status to an animal rights group in the shape of the RSCPA.
Ever since then, we have been famously pampering our furry friends in every way that we possibly can. In fact, it’s been estimated that the average Brit spends between £10-20,000 on their pet throughout their lifespan! Perhaps the UK does not have the most pampered pets, but we are certainly No.1 in Europe in terms of expenditure on our beloved friends.
Let’s look at the many and varied methods that animal owners ensure their four-legged family members enjoy the very best life.
Grooming animals is a relatively unique career path, but it’s one that more and more Britons are training in. It requires no formal qualifications from a University and can be learned through an intensive course in around eight weeks.
With dog owners making more and more use of the services of such groomers, it’s hardly surprising that the business is estimated to be worth around £5bn! What was once the sole reserve of the rich and famous in locations such as Harrods is now a fixture of high streets all over the nation.
Nowadays, pet grooming is far more than just a quick trim and blow-dry against Fido’s will. Taking a dog or cat to a groomer may involve nail painting, fluff styling, fur dye jobs, and even bejazzling. If you’re going to take your animals to a professional groomer, however, ensure that they enjoy a good reputation.
The only downside of the fact that anybody can retrain as a pet groomer is that it means anybody can train as a pet groomer. You wouldn’t take your child to a substandard doctor, so don’t take any chances with your pet!
The era of picking up a supermarket own-brand food has long since been left behind by British pet parents. Nowadays, it’s estimated that we spend more than £3.5bn on food and treats! The gourmet dinners market has doubled in size since 2007, and makes up a large percentage of total expenditure on the pet food market.
This is partly down to our determination to humanise our pets, ensuring that they receive the same gourmet gastronomic experience as us. In addition, however, good food will always be better for your pet, providing them with essential nutrients and quality ingredients instead of sugar and empty calories.
It helps that the UK has considerably stricter laws on pet food than some other territories. If a retailer is looking to sell food for animals in Britain, detailed information on the ingredients and nutritional value must be found on the packaging. With this of course, comes a high price tag which the British are prepared to pay without a doubt.
As though making pets feel at home in the house isn’t enough, many Brits are also spending a small fortune on cat and dog holidays. Any pet parent will be familiar with the all-encompassing worry of leaving their furry family member with a friend or family member, but the rise of luxury doggy hotels has replaced the old, hard logistics of a kennel or a cattery.
It is believed that British pet owners spend an excess of £3bn on luxurious animal accommodation. Rather than simply dropping the lovable critters off at a friend or family member’s house, or even worse just leaving them in a kennel, animal hotels are on the rise.
These establishments will provide luxurious cushions, great food, underground heating and every other mod con that you could imagine. It still won’t be as fun as staying close to their beloved humans, but pets will enjoy plenty of indulgence in these hotels to soften the blow!
Of course, many animals are dressed in clothing too! Sometimes this is reluctant, a result of humans attempting to personify their pets, and on other occasions it’s a matter of logistics. After all, dogs that need to head out for walkies in the rain and show could benefit from raincoats and jumpers.
Close to a million pounds are spent on animal clothing annually, which is why the industry is becoming increasingly commonplace. Once upon a time a dog in an outfit would only be seen on your TV, presumably in the handbag of a Hollywood socialite. Nowadays, the high street contains animal clothing boutiques, and you can order unique and bespoke outfits for any pet.
It’s heart-breaking to acknowledge that the typical animal has a substantially shorter lifespan than a human, but that’s even more reason to make them as comfortable as possible while they’re around.
Next time somebody tells you that your dog, cat or goldfish is spoiled, point out that this is just another word for loved. Next time you’re patting your pet, pat yourself on the back at the same time. You’re doing a great job of keeping them happy and content!
Apart from the amount of money spent in dog salons or upmarket dog groomers, that’s not the end of the story.
From authentic gold tiaras beset with jewels to the latest pedicures (also beset with real stones), owners have also been known to splash out on expensive toys such as motorised vehicles – you can buy your dog a car to drive himself around (hopefully we are talking gardens here). From an Audi TT to a replica of a top of the range Mercedes, your dog can become a playboy or starlet overnight.
Now surely that is a bridge too far in terms of safety, or is it one-upmanship? The choice is all yours.