Nearly Two Million Pet Owners Could Face Animal Custody Battles

We all know that Brits love their pets, but just how deep is their love for their furry friends?

New research from reveals that nearly two million devoted pet owners would take their partner to court following a break up to fight for custody of their beloved animal.

However this may not come as that much of a surprise as the findings reveal that a third of pet owners (33%) actually treat their animal like a child, with a further one in ten (8%) claiming that they love their pet more than their partner. A similar number of owners (11%) also admit that their pet is the most important thing in their life.

Despite professing this undying love for their pets 60% of owners do not have pet insurance, meaning their animal companions might not be protected should the worst happen.

However the devotion that some owners do show to their pets is proving to be a source of animosity between some couples, with one in twenty (6%) admitting that they feel jealous of their partner spending more time with their pet than them. The problem worsens for the one in ten (9%) who suspect that their other half loves their pet more than they do them.

For some owners their pet is so important to them that it dictates their relationship future, with one in ten people (10%) admitting that they would dump their partner if they didn’t get on with their pet. Nearly a third (30%) of animal-loving Brits wouldn’t even consider dating someone who didn’t like animals.

Yet for some people it’s having a pet that can be a deal-breaker when it comes to choosing a partner, with 8% saying they wouldn’t go out with someone who owned an animal. And the reasons why – a third (32%) fear that their partner’s pet might not like them and one in 10 (9%) are worried that their partner’s ex might still come and visit the pet. However for many Brits who shun partners with pets (54%) it’s simply down to the fact that they don’t like animals.

Despite a fear of snakes being one of the most common phobias, it is in fact dogs (35%) that are the most off-putting animal when it comes to rejecting a potential partner based on their pet. However, men were particularly unimpressed with women who own snakes, with 29% admitting to being repelled at the prospect.

Kate Rose, Head of Pet Insurance at says:

“According to our research it would seem that many people favour spending quality time with their pets over their partners. Brits are well known for being animal lovers, but preferring to spend time cuddled up with the dog or cat over a partner reveals that ‘man’s best friend’ is the primary object of many people’s affections – with some owners even treating their pet as they would a child.

“With this in mind, perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that many devoted owners would go to any lengths to ensure they keep their pet – even if it means taking an ex-partner to court.”

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  1. wagthedoguk February 28, 2013
  2. CrissieChambers February 28, 2013