News & Features

Paws for Thought - Purina's new research reveals the habits of Irish dog and cat owners

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Looks and making a good first impression don’t just count when dating. They are among the top three factors when it comes to choosing a pet too, according to new research from PURINA® into the habits and attitudes of Ireland’s cat and dog owners.  While temperament (80%) is paramount when picking a pet, almost two thirds (67%) of owners admitted that it’s important a cat or dog looks like they’ll fit into their family too. A similar number (66%) confessed that a pet’s first reaction when they see them is the deal clincher for them.

When it comes to the benefits of owning a cat or dog, most owners agreed that they are fun to have in the household (74%), while seven out of ten mentioned the love and affection (70%) and companionship (69%) they give. Interestingly, many (44%) revealed that their cat or dog helps to relieve their stress and - singletons take note - almost a quarter of dog owners said their pet was a great way to meet people when out and about.


Nowadays it really is a ‘dog’s house’ with the majority (66%) of owners allowing their dog or cat to sleep indoors while almost a quarter (23%) even allow them to sleep in a family member’s  room a few times a week or more.

And Irish people’s ‘soft spot’ for cats and dogs doesn’t stop there. Although many people have cut back on household expenses over the past few years, it seems that pet owners are still happy to pamper their pets. A quarter (26%) have had their cat or dog professionally groomed in the past year while more than half (52%) admitted they had even bought their pet a gift. Two out of five owners  have shared images or a video of their dog or cat on social media while two per cent admitted they had even gone so far as to set up a social media site dedicated to their pet. In fact some don’t even leave them behind when it comes to holidays with one in ten bringing their pet along too.

Commenting on the results, Gillian Bird, Education Officer at the DSCPA, said “The PURINA® research shows that cats and dogs are much loved members of many households. Choosing well is the first step. Caring for a cat or dog is a lifetime responsibility so it’s one that we encourage people to think carefully about before they take it on.”

She offered the following six top tips for responsible pet ownership:

•             Microchip your cat /dog – give them the best chance of being returned if they are lost or stolen; Make sure you keep the details up to date, after all the microchip is only as good as the information stored on the database!”

•             Diet – ensure your pet’s food is appropriate to their age as well as their lifestyle

•             Exercise and play with your cat or dog regularly

•             Train your pet (and this applies to your cat too!)

•             Regular Vet check-ups

•             Neutering – as well as providing peace of mind, it can prevent serious health problems and certain behavioural issues too. 


When it comes to wishful thinking, four in ten owners (41%) admitted that they’d like to own TV star, Lassie, followed by Marley (33%) and Beethoven (26%). One in ten preferred to own Family Guy’s Ben Griffin or Santa’s Little Helper from the Simpsons (11% and 9 % respectively).

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