North West comes in fifth as one of the happiest places for pets to live
And the North East comes out tops, according to a new survey.
The research, carried out by Vets4Pets, looked at a number of different areas of pet ownership and welfare, from how often pets are exercised, to how much time they spend with their owners and other pets.
Pet owners in the North East came out on top for spending the most time with their pet (8.3 hours a day), exercising their pet the most and spending the most on presents for their pet
Dr Huw Stacey, who is vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “It’s great to see the positive impact pets are having on their owners and vice versa.
“The benefits of having a pet can be significant. They can keep us fit, help decrease stress levels, and improve our overall wellbeing.
“With more than half of pet owners admitting their pet is their biggest source of happiness, it clearly demonstrates the positive effect dogs, cats, rabbits and other pets can offer us, through unconditional love and a constant source of companionship.”
Around 80% of surveyed pet owners admitted that they see their pet as more of a friend than an animal, while a third of pet owners claimed that they would choose their pet over their partner.
Dr Stacey added: “Spending time and having a meaningful and interactive relationship with a pet can help people be happier and healthier, and it also has a similar impact on the pet.
“Indeed, half of pet owners say they turn to their pet first when feeling sad, clearly demonstrating the high regard in which many people see their pets.
“Our pets are there for us come rain or shine, providing many with a dependable resource to turn to when we need a boost.
“And our pets clearly feel the same way about us, as spending time with their owners having a direct influence on their happiness.
“Cat and rabbit owners we surveyed said their pet is happiest when spending time with them, and nearly 70% of dog owners stated their dog is at their happiest when with them.”
When it comes to exercise, pets in the North East and Scotland get the most, with more than 60% of owners in these regions stating that they exercise their pet every day.
However, obesity is still a prevalent problem amongst UK pets, with one in three dogs, one in four cats and one in four rabbits reported as overweight in 2016.
Dr Stacey added: “Overweight and obese pets are far more susceptible to a whole host of medical conditions, including joint problems, diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
“As well as impacting on their health, the extra weight also lowers a pet’s general quality of life and happiness, as exercise isn’t only important for a pet’s physical health, it also vastly improves their mental health and wellbeing, in a similar way to humans.
“Our research has revealed that owners can see the impact exercise has on their pet’s happiness, with three-quarters of dog owners stating that their dog is at their happiest when exercising, above spending time with their owner (69%) and meal times (53%).
“Now the nights are lighter and the days are warming up, it’s the perfect time to start enjoying more time in the garden or on walks with our pets, in the knowledge it brings both happiness and good health to both owners and pets.
“While the top ten reflects the answer generated through the survey, it was clear to see that all the pet owners who we spoke to had their pet’s health and wellbeing at the forefront of their mind.”