According to new research, more than 7 million pet owners have planned to buy presents for their cat or dog to open on Christmas Day along with the rest of the family.

Food and treats are the most popular presents, followed closely by toys with owners spending on average around £50 to treat their pet – and men will spend three times more than women, says Direct Line Pet Insurance.

To celebrate the season, owners are also likely to relax strict routines and change habits with some pet owners planning to relax bedtime rules, letting pets stay up later than usual, and more men admitting their plans including spending more time with their dog by taking a longer walk than usual on Christmas Day.

Here are some of the most common ways pet owners admitted to when telling the pet insurer how they planned to make Christmas special for their pet.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, commented on the findings saying, “The relationships we develop with our pets are unconditional, and they become part of the family as soon as we meet them. It is, therefore, no surprise that so many owners are including their pets in the festivities and do not want to risk them feeling left out of the family fun.

“Making sure that your pets get a treat at Christmas is great, but owners should keep their pet’s physical and mental health in mind and ensure that all presents are suitable. We also urge all owners to make sure their pet’s routine isn’t too disrupted and they are not left alone for prolonged periods, as this can unnecessarily raise their pet’s stress levels.”

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