UK Dog Owners’ Worries
Of the people in the United Kingdom that leave their dogs alone for some period of time, a majority of them feel guilty about doing so, and attempt to make up for it by treating their dog in some way or form. Some even go to the extent of having other people take care of their dogs while they are away, just to make sure that their dog is not too lonely for too long. While the U.S. market for dog owners is greater, dog owners do not do as much to ensure the happiness of their pets. Below you will find a breakdown that explains how people in the U.K. and the U.S. feel about the amount of time that they leave their dogs alone, in addition to ways in which they attempt to make up for it.
United Kingdom Concerns
In the United Kingdom, around 86% of dog owners leave their dogs alone for some period of time on a daily basis. 46% of dog owners who leave their dogs on their own report being sad about it, and 40% feel worse about leaving their dog home alone than their teenage child. 40% of dog owners also report that they do not like to leave their dogs alone due to separation anxiety, and others worry about leaving their dogs alone in-case they chew everything apart. Around 54% of dog owners wish that they could reduce the amount of time that they leave their dogs alone. In order to try to prevent their dogs from feeling too lonely or uncared for when leaving them alone, dog owners in the U.K. often do the following sorts of things to distract their pets:
- Turn on radio: 40%
- Leave TV on: 32%
Even when dog owners in the U.K. do these things to comfort their dogs when leaving them alone, many still report feeling poorly about the time they left their dog alone. As a result, dog owners do a number of different things upon returning home to make up for leaving their dogs home alone, including:
- Giving the dog a steak dinner: 10%
- Cooking the dog's favorite meal: 16%
- Coming home with a special treat: 18%
- Taking the dog on an extra long walk: 64%
Some dog owners in the U.K. feel so horrible about leaving their dogs alone for any period of time, that they resort to having other people check in on their dogs, or even end up pushing aside previous engagements. For example, around 10% of dog owners in the U.K. have reported taking time off of work or not attending a social event in order to spend time with their dog. Around 5% of dog owners will pay for their dogs to attend "doggy day care" when they are not home, and 10% will arrange for an in-home dog sitter to keep their pet company. An additional 24% report asking a friend to stop by to keep their pet company while they are away.
Note: Given the time restriction of this single request, we were unable to find research showing differences in owner group sentiments across gender or profession. However, we did find that around 25% of male pet owners in the U.K. have dogs, compared with 29% of females in the U.K.
United States Concerns
For the purpose of a comparison, 52% of male pet owners in the U.S. own dogs, and 48% of female pet owners own dogs. Of the two-thirds of these owners that leave their dogs along for some period of time, 80% feel guilty about it. On average, dogs in America spend approximately 2,080 hours alone every year, and as a result, 60% of dog owners worry about the negative, long-term effects of leaving their dogs alone for so long, while 20% are nervous about leaving their dogs alone in case the dog injures themselves. 70% of these dog owners also want to reduce the amount of time that they are leaving their dogs alone, but 63% also feel as though they underestimated the time that goes into raising a dog. Even whenever dog owners are with their dogs, 15% still feel as though they do not have enough time to take their dogs for a walk or to play with them.
A majority of dog owners in both the United States and the United Kingdom feel poorly about the amount of time that they leave their dogs alone for. While many dog owners want to find ways to reduce the time that their pets are left alone, most feel as though this task is difficult to complete, as there is not enough time even when they are around to provide their dogs with enough attention. Often times, dog owners in the U.K. will attempt to make up for leaving their dogs alone for so long by providing them with special treats and extra attention, or will even take extra measures to decrease the loneliness that their dog feels while they are away.