New research on Britain’s pet owners reveals that pet ownership has tumbled by seven percentage points in five years, with just over half (56 per cent) of UK households now containing a pet, down from 63 per cent in 2012.
While pets have long held a special place in the nation’s hearts and homes, Mintel research revealed a decline in all types of ownership. Fish ownership has taken the biggest dive, down from 17 per cent of households in 2012 to just 10 per cent in 2017. Also, causing something of a squeak, small mammal ownership has fallen from 10 per cent in 2012 to seven per cent in 2017.
Although cats and dogs continue to battle it out as the nation’s favourite, dogs remain man’s best friend with 33 per cent of men owning a dog, compared to 27 per cent who own a cat. When it comes to women, cats have a lead over dogs at 32 per cent ownership versus 29 per cent.
Overall, it seems pet ownership is a family affair, with 73 per cent of households with children under the age of 16 containing pets. However, ownership drops significantly among the older generation, falling to a low of 36 per cent among the over-65s.
Emma Clifford, Mintel’s associate director of food & drink, said: “Shrinking household sizes and the trend of consumers starting their families later in life are all having a negative effect on pet ownership. Additionally, the shift towards privately rented accommodation continues to put downward pressure on pet ownership. Long-term, the growing population of over-55s present an on-going challenge to the pet industry.”