<p> <img title="staycations" src="https://azure.wgp-cdn.co.uk/app-yourdog/posts/Dog-ball.jpg" alt="staycations" /></p><p>Animal loving Brits say they would rather leave their partner behind than their pet when they go on their summer holiday...</p>
An astonishing 83% of owners miss their furry companions more than their partner, parents or friends when they go away. Many people now opt for ‘staycations’ instead and choose pet friendly holiday cottages in the UK rather than suffer the stress of leaving their pet.
Nine out of ten pet parents said they felt ‘guilty and sad’ leaving animals behind and a further 95% said they only felt comfortable if they were staying with someone familiar.
The UK pet population currently stands at 21 million according to latest figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association. Dogs are the most popular, with 8.5 million living in the UK, followed by 7.5 million cats and 1.5 million rabbits and guinea pigs.
Pet sitting website and app Pawshake, quizzed 1,100 owners on the quandary they face each summer. The service - dubbed ‘Air BnB for pets’ - matches up pet owners with trusted sitters and dog walkers in their local area meaning they get to stay in a home.
When asked who they missed most when they went on holiday, 83% said their pet, 13% said their partner, three per cent said friends and only one per cent said their parents!
Most pet owners (95%) said they would rather leave their animal with someone they already knew and only 3% said they felt one to one care wasn’t important.
Tanguy Peers, co-founder of Pawshake said: “Pets are part of the family so it’s natural for us to be upset when we leave them behind. We found owners are far more comfortable leaving animals either in their own home with a trusted pet sitter, or in a home environment with someone they are familiar with.
“Pawshake offers a community of sitters who give one to one care and send photos and regular updates and even FaceTime or video call them to reassure them everything is ok. We would advise owners who are going way to put arranging care for their pet at the top of their holiday admin list to take away the stress.”
With kennels costing up to £50 a day, staycations are increasing in popularity.
A poll by the Post Office found that 8% of people - 1.4 million - who chose to holiday in the UK did so because it meant they could take their dog with them.
But it’s not just dogs people take on holiday, but cats and birds as well!
Jacqui and Richard Gooding who own Letheringham Water Mill Cottages in Suffolk say they have all kinds of pets come to visit. Their accommodation has dog showers, sun loungers, luxurious beds and welcome packs with balls and treats for pooches.
Jacqui, who won Visit England's Dog Friendly Business of the Year, said: “We have noticed a significant growth in the number of people holidaying in the UK with their dogs, and we’ve had cats and birds stay too.
”Our facilities here were specifically designed to make holidaying with your pet special – we think this will only grow as so many differing businesses are wakening to this niche market.”