2 December 2022

Many UK pet owners have stronger bonds with their pet than people in their family, new consumer research shows

  • New consumer research from the animal welfare charity Brooke finds that people in the UK spend more time looking after their pet than their child (40% vs 27%).
  • It has been revealed that 75% people agree that in some capacity they have a closer bond with their pet than their partner
  • Over a quarter of people say their pet is the first to notice when their mood changes, before their partner or family 

New figures from the animal welfare charity Brooke have revealed that three quarters of people agree in some capacity they have a closer bond with their pet than people in their family. In addition, 78% agree their pets provide more emotional support than friends and family. When seeking comfort, 3 in 5 say they sometimes prefer a cuddle from their pet than their partner. 

When it comes to what we love most about our pets, 56% say they love how their pet is always there for them. 50% love that they are good at cuddling and provide emotional support. 4 in 10 people appreciate that their pet knows when they are sad and a third like that having a pet teaches both compassion and empathy. 
Over a quarter (28%) have turned down plans with family and friends so they could stay home with their pet. A further 16% declined a big event such as wedding, funeral or birthday to stay at home with their pet. A fifth of people say the bond is stronger between themselves and their pet than their partner, and 4 in 10 say it is the same. 

The last couple of years have been undoubtedly difficult for many – from COVID to the cost-of-living crisis now. People are seeking comfort from many different sources, unsurprisingly a big one being their pets.

While it’s clear the bond between animal lovers and their pets is strong in the UK, animals are struggling all over the world. In particular, the recent floods in Pakistan hit people and also their working horses, donkeys and mules, hard. Pakistan has over six million working horses, donkeys and mules providing support to an estimated 36 million people.

They are mostly used for transportation of people and goods, and some are used in brick kilns, coalmines and agriculture. In the floods they helped farmers evacuate overnight as flood warnings were announced, and were used in the aftermath to access areas that had been cut off when roads were destroyed.
While Brooke Pakistan usually focusses on training in animal welfare for owners, they have now had to move into emergency response work. The main issues faced by animals and their owners are lack of access to clean drinking water and food, as well as shade and shelters. 

Thanks to Brooke supporters in the UK, Brooke Pakistan have now helped 11,077 horses, donkeys and mules, out of which 6,990 were provided treatment and 10,141 were given bags of feed so far. They have also provided human food rations for 3,064 equine owners.