Dogs firmly on the ‘nice list’: New research finds over 80% of dog owners will be buying a Christmas present for their canine companion this year

23 NOVEMBER 2018

New research by Mars Petcare UK and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has revealed that eight out of 10 dog owners in the UK are planning to put their pet on top of their Christmas gift list this year.

With Christmas shopping season now well underway, Mars Petcare UK and Battersea teamed up to survey pet owners across the country to find out whether our spending habits will include treating our pets to a gift under the tree, too. The research comes as Mars Petcare UK and Battersea celebrate ten years of partnership, marking the occasion with a partnership with Tesco to raise £100,000 for the charity this Christmas.

Unsurprisingly, the country’s reputation as a nation of pet lovers shone through in the survey’s findings, with 81% of the 498 UK dog owners who celebrate Christmas questioned revealing that they would be treating their four-legged friend this festive season with a gift, and 40% planning to spend over £10. Almost a quarter of the survey’s participants (24%) plan to splash the cash even further by spending up to £20 on a Christmas treat for their canine companion.

When it comes to cats, however, it seems our feline family members don’t get the same treatment, with only 17% of cat owners who celebrate Christmas saying they would spend over £10 on their pet, compared to 31% who claimed they would be spending nothing on their cat.

Gosia Faras, Corporate Affairs Director at Mars Petcare UK says: “The UK is renowned for being a nation of animal lovers, so it’s no surprise that people want to treat their pets at Christmas. Pets really are part of the family, with 64% of owners wanting to include their pet in their seasonal celebrations[1]. But it’s not just pet owners – at Christmas 21% of pet seasonal sales are bought by non-pet owners who want to treat the pets of family and friends[2].’

The new research also found that one of the most popular ways for owners to treat their pet at Christmas is with food from their Christmas meal, as nearly three quarters of respondents (72%) revealed that they have given their dog turkey from their Christmas dinner.

Battersea Veterinary Surgeon, Claire Turner, says: “It’s great that people treat their pets so generously at this time of year, but it’s also important to remember that certain ‘human’ foods can pose a threat to their health. Dogs and cats alike are intolerant to many of our favourite festive foods. Alcohol, chocolate, onions and some cheeses are all part of a long list of things that can be toxic for dogs and cats, along with raisins which we know are in many festive favourites like mince pies and Christmas cake. While titbits from the Christmas plate may have them licking their lips, we would always recommend giving your dog or cat a treat that’s been specifically designed for them, so you know it’s formulated for their needs.”

While the research shows that most dogs and cats across the country will be enjoying a treat before cosying up on the couch with a family this Christmas not all animals are so lucky. Mars Petcare UK has been working with Battersea since 2008, supplying all three of the charity’s centres with Pedigree and Whiskas main meals and treats, allowing Battersea to provide all animals in its care with a consistent high-quality diet.

Gosia Faras says: “To celebrate the tenth year of partnership between Mars Petcare UK and Battersea, we’ve partnered with Tesco to help raise £100,000 for the much-loved animal charity this Christmas. The mechanic is simple - for every pack purchased from the Mars Petcare seasonal range in Tesco, we’ll donate 15p to Battersea to continue to support the fantastic work they do to eradicate pet homelessness by helping stray and abandoned pets find a new home. Whether you choose to spend £10 or £100 on a festive gift for your pet, choosing to treat them with something from our special range means it’s not only your own dog or cat that will be receiving a treat this Christmas.”

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Notes to editors

  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at Battersea, but the average stay for a dog is 38 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • Battersea is here for every dog and cat, and has been since 1860. Since it was founded over 150 years ago, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • We believe that every dog and cat deserves the best. That’s why we aim to never turn away a dog or cat in need.
  • In 2017, Battersea helped over 7,000 dogs and cats.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 300 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • For further information on Battersea, please visit Follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ or

[1] Mintel, 2017

[2] UK Marketing Mix Insights, March