Pet News | It's a Dog's Life | Andover & VillagesBesotted pet owners admit their dog is ‘part of the family’ – with 45 per cent of the pooches in the South East even having their own spot on the sofa, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 dog owners nationwide revealed just how much love there is for the family pet with six in 10 admitting they often see them as being like one of the children.

Over half of dog owners in the South East allow their pooch to sleep on their bed while nearly 20 per cent of them have turned down nights with friends because they can’t bear to leave their dog at home alone.

It also emerged having pictures of your pet on display in your home is the biggest sign they are part of the family, along with having their image as the screen saver on their phone celebrating their birthday.

Other indicators include giving them a nickname, packing a bag especially for the dog when going away and including them in the Christmas family photos.

Incredibly, in the event of a breakup, nearly a third of people in the South East would be more devastated by losing custody of their dog than the house they live in.

Over half of doggy-devotees in the South East say hello to their dog first after getting home at the end of the day, before their partner.

Gemma Cunningham, Brand Manager at Lintbells, manufacturers of premium natural supplements for dogs cats and horses, which commissioned the research, said: “It doesn’t take long for a furry companion to really feel like one of the family.

“In fact, our research found it takes owners in the South East just around two weeks of dog ownership before their four-legged friend feels like part of the family.

“And once a pet feels like part of the family, there’s a huge temptation to treat it as often as you can, as a way of showing your love.

“We all want what’s best for our loved ones and the same goes for our pet.”

The study found over 40 per cent of owners in the South East have planned a holiday specifically with their canine’s enjoyment in mind, while nearly 30 per cent have bought their dog a personalised present after returning from a holiday or trip away.

And nearly a third of owners in the South East have even avoided going on holiday entirely because it would have meant them being away from their beloved pet.

Nearly half of all pooches in the country even have their own spot on the sofa, forcing humans to get up and move if they dare settle down on it.

And close to 20 per cent of respondents in the South East have had to tell guests not to sit on a particular spot on the sofa – in case the dog fancies a sit down.

Almost 15 per cent of pet owners in the South East even admit to taking their dog to the groomers more often than they go to the hairdressers themselves, while almost a third deem their pet has a healthier diet than them.

Almost 40 per cent of dog owners in the South East even let their dog sit at or beside the dinner table at mealtimes.

Over 39 per cent of those in the South East have even marked their pet’s birthday with a doggie cake or presents. Over 10 per cent admit to often spending more of their spare cash on their dog than they do on themselves.

Gemma added: “Dog’s health and wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do and this research truly cements this. With so many pet owners treating their furry friends as a member of the family it is important to us to offer the highest level of care we can to ensure they live a happy and healthy life whatever their age, with our wide range of health supplements.”