Pets set to overindulge this Christmas

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RESEARCH from The Co-operative Pet Insurance has revealed that it won’t just be humans sitting down to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner this year, with more than one third of animal owners revealing their pampered pets will also be having a taste of the action.

Turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, gravy and all the other seasonal trimmings are normally the stuff of dreams for the household pet. However, 37 per cent of owners will be serving up this feast for them today.

With the average Christmas dinner containing in excess of 900 calories, porky pooches and fattened felines are likely to join their owners for a snooze in front of the television after dinner, rather than take in a bracing walk. Tellingly 10 per cent of pet owners have put their pet on a diet after Christmas in the past.

In addition to the turkey dinner, pets are likely to be tucking into a whole host of other treats, with the survey revealing animals’ buffet favourites:

Top 10 festive pet nibbles - 1, cocktail sausages; 2, crisps; 3, chocolate; 4, prawns; 5 sandwiches; 6, mince pies; 7, nuts;

8, chocolate tree decorations; 9, Christmas cake; 10, cheese footballs.

In addition to the gastronomic delights of Christmas, the survey has revealed that more than half (57 per cent) of pets will receive a present this year, worth an average of £12.99, while 10 per cent of pets will be looking their best over the festive season with £29.71 being spent on grooming and, even, a new Christmas outfit.

Lee Mooney, Head of Pet Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “The results of the survey clearly show that the UK is a nation of pet lovers. Pets are increasingly seen as part of the family and, once again, we appear to be determined to show this at Christmas.

“Pet owners will undoubtedly be spoiling their animals this Christmas with presents, grooming and even Christmas dinner this year. Whilst Christmas is a decadent time of year and pets are most definitely part of the family, feeding them a full Christmas dinner is probably not advised as pets have very different dietary and nutritional requirements to humans.

“It is worrying to see that pet owners are still allowing their pets to eat chocolate, as it is a fact that it can prove fatal to dogs.

“Ensuring pets get enough exercise over the Christmas period is extremely important to their health and shouldn’t be overlooked; an added bonus is that this will hopefully help owners keep any weight gain to a minimum too!”