Bob (front), with owner Frances Heck and Ollie (back) at her home, where they sleep, not in their own kennel, but on her bed.
Bob (front), with owner Frances Heck and Ollie (back) at her home, where they sleep, not in their own kennel, but on her bed. Sarah Harvey

Pets lap up the love

FORGET the humble backyard kennel, pampered Ipswich pets are living the good life inside the home as treasured members of the family.

A recent Australian survey has revealed the lengths to which owners will go for their pets.

The love affair is an expensive one, with the average Queensland pet owner spending $59 a month on food and $550 a year on accessories, health products and vet bills.

Glamorgan Vale resident Frances Heck has two “furry children” – seven-year-old silky-cross Bobby and six-year-old moodle (a cross between a maltese and a poodle) Oliver.

The 51-year-old estimates between food and occasional doggy treats, she spends on average $50 every week on her dogs.

They also sleep on her bed – Bob at the bottom, Oliver at the top, nestled between the pillows.

Mrs Heck said with her husband Peter away a lot for work, the dogs were good company.

“I have always loved animals,” Mrs Heck said.

“I had dogs when I was a child, but bigger dogs.

“But it is lovely having Bobby and Oliver.

“I can’t imagine life without them.”

The online survey of more than 1000 Australians, conducted by Evolve Research, found it’s a dog’s world, with Fido topping the list of most-popular pets.

Cats came second, followed by fish and birds.

The pet survey, commissioned by Coles, found 30% of owners had taken a pet on holiday, while 18% had even taken a sick day to care for their pet.

Fernvale-based DebLuvsUrPets owner Deb Willett agreed with the findings and said it was now common for clients to take their pets on holidays or spoil them with presents.

“It shows how much people love their pets,” Ms Willett said.

“These days they are almost like children-substitutes to young unmarried people or older people once their own children have left home.”

Seventy-six per cent of pet owners, like Harrisville resident Lynette Peachey, will also buy their beloved pets gifts.

Ms Peachey said last year for Christmas her three-year-old cocker spaniel Daisy had received a diamante flower for her collar.

She said for her birthday, the retired show dog typically received liver treats and a coat.

“She goes in the car and we go on dog-friendly vacations,” Ms Peachey said.

“I also put her paw prints on Christmas cards.”

PET STATISTICS

More than 50% of owners admitted changing food brands because their pets no longer liked it, while 22% had cooked their pet a special meal.

Almost all pet owners admitted talking with their pets, and more than half to sharing a bed with them.

30% of Aussies have taken their pets on holidays, with 18% taking a sick day to care for them and 76% giving them gifts.



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