Beautiful labrador retriever covered with a blanket

Pets over pounds: A third of West Midlands pet owners keep heating on for pets when not at home, despite rising bill costs

New research released from Worcester Bosch reveals lengths owners will go to ensure their pets are comfortable when left at home 

Worcester, United Kingdom, 17 April 2024: New research released today has revealed that people in the West Midlands prioritise the wellbeing of their cats and dogs over keeping energy bills down, even in the cost of living crisis. A third of West Midlanders admit to leaving the heating on and almost a third (29%) keep the TV or radio on for their pets, when left at home alone.

The research – commissioned for National Pet Month by home heating provider Worcester Bosch – explored the lengths owners will go to ensure their pets are happy. It revealed that people in West Mids spend an average of 22 minutes per day making sure their pets are comfortable before leaving home.

The research also found that the rising cost of bills hasn’t stopped dog and cat lovers from pampering their pets. Only 7% of respondents have stopped switching on the heating when out of the house in the last year, and a mere 8% no longer leave electrical appliances on.

Given that from this month average household bills will have increased by 56% since 2021, for pet owners, comfort prevails over cost. This is something dog owner Emma Brander, from Inverurie in Aberdeenshire can relate to.

She commented; “I’ve felt the pinch with rising energy bill costs, but my whippet Otis means everything to me and I would do anything to make sure he is safe and comfortable while I’m out at work all day, so I often have the heating on for a couple of hours in the middle of the day to make sure he’s warm and cosy.”

Tech for Tabbies

When asking pet owners what they would consider purchasing in the future to improve their pet’s comfort at home, it is perhaps unsurprising that new toys and beds came out on top (43% and 34% respectively). However, pet cameras, food dispensers and voice-enabled tech closely followed (22%, 21% and 17% respectively), showing that pet owners are open to embracing new technology.

Out of those surveyed, almost half (46%) already have a built-in camera at home specifically to check on their pet – with a quarter of these checking on them four times a day. Aaron Gilbert, who has a cat cam in his kitchen commented, “Checking in on my ragdoll cat, Merlin, a few times a day gives me peace of mind, knowing that he’s safe and sound at home while I’m out at work all day. Making sure my cat is comfortable is a big priority for me, and it was a no-brainer for me to install a camera.”

The PETurn-to-office

However, it’s not all positive for pets. Over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed have considered giving their pet away due to not being able to care for it while at work. And with four in ten UK businesses returning full time to the office, this number could quickly increase.

Employer pet policies are partly to blame, with nearly half (46%) of those surveyed saying that their workplace isn’t accommodating when it comes to bringing their pets into work. In fact, policies on bringing pets to work is a big consideration for job seekers, with almost half (46%) saying it would influence their interest in working at a company.

Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Services at Worcester Bosch and proud owner of two rescue dogs Rita and Stanley, commented; “Brits are a nation of pet lovers, with owners going to great lengths to care for their furry friends. Different factors such as time working in the office will have an impact on how people look after their pets, and the costs associated with this care.

Owners need to consider how to heat their homes to guarantee the welfare of their animals. For people who do want to keep their heating on for their pets while out, it’s important that they do this in a considered and efficient way to ensure bills stay manageable while pets are kept happy. For example, if pet owners know that their animal spends most of the day in one room of the house, they could consider only keeping the heating on in that room while turning it off in others to not waste energy.”

For more information on how to reduce energy bills, visit https://www.worcester-bosch.co.uk/energy-saving-tips.

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