Pets can provide their owners with lots of affection and it seems many people prefer hugging their four-legged friends to their own relatives.
According to a study conducted for My Social Petwork, around half of owners would rather hug their animals than a close family member when they are feeling low. A total of 1,124 people were questioned.
Meanwhile, it was also found that a third of respondents spent the equivalent of up to 30 days a year caring for their pets and one in five had cancelled social plans to be with their furry companions.
Also, around one in five pet owners regularly use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter to share images of their animals, while ten per cent have even taken their pets to special occasions, such as christenings or weddings.
In addition, the research, which was carried out by OpinionMatters on behalf of My Social Petwork, revealed that around seven per cent of owners have cancelled a date and four per cent have called in sick to work because of their pets.
Furthermore, a quarter of owners said their animal was more like a child to them than a pet.
Commenting on the findings, TV vet Emma Milne said: “As a vet and animal welfare spokesperson it is extremely heartening to see the lengths that people go to ensuring that our pets are well cared for and looked after.”
The expert went on to state: “Everyone must be aware of the responsibility they are taking on when they choose to own any pet – whether that be a dog, cat, guinea pig or fish – and the results of the census shows that the majority of pet owners… are doing a fantastic job in providing their pet a healthy and happy life by putting their pets first.”