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Cutting back pet spend is 'last thing on owners' minds'

Tuesday, 20th November 2012

Cutting back on pet spend is the last thing on the owners' minds during a recession, according to new research, which shows spend on pet food and treats is up despite the economic downturn.

New research from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) revealed that while owners have made cuts in the last 12 months, they have not done so when it comes to pets. The survey of over 2,000 pet owners revealed only six per cent have cut back on treats for their pets, four per cent on their pet's food and three per cent on their pet's health and visits to the vet.

This contrasts significantly to lifestyle decisions, with 36 per cent of pet owners cutting back on eating out, 25 per cent on clothes shopping and 24 per cent on holidays. Many people are also cutting down on the essentials such as food shopping, petrol and heating their houses.

Psychologist Dr. Ceri Parsons believes that social exchange theory can explain these findings.  She said: "In social exchanges, both parties seek to maximise benefits and minimise costs. These findings suggest that the emotional and health rewards of caring for a pet, such as companionship and stress reduction outweigh the costs associated with their care.

"The findings illustrate that we are spending less on drinking in pubs and new clothes, so it is clear we are cutting back on expenditures that are less ‘rewarding’."