OUR dogs live the life of Riley – spoilt rotten with access to heating, radio and telly while their owners are out of the house.
Paws & Claws asked 1,000 British and Irish dog owners what they do with their pets during the day when they are out at work.
We discovered that although the average dog is left home alone for six hours a day, owners treat them to little luxuries to make up for it.
More than two-thirds of dog owners (69 per cent) feel guilty about leaving their pet “home alone” for more than five hours at a time.
One in ten feel guilty leaving their dog at home on its own for just an hour at a time.
Our survey found that 65 per cent of owners leave the heating on to make sure their dog is comfortable in the house.
And 53 per cent say they leave a light on for their pets while they are out of the house at night.
Forty-eight per cent leave the radio on to give their pooch some company while a dedicated one in four (25 per cent) leave the television on so their pampered pup has some stimulating entertainment.
Bizarrely, 15 per cent of owners also believe their dog has a favourite telly show.
‘LIVING THEIR BEST LIVES’
Mark Hackett of supersaveroil.com, which conducted the survey on our behalf, said: “It’s lovely to see how much people care about their animals.
“I expect there are some cases where the animals are actually receiving more luxuries than the owners themselves — especially when it comes to the heating, as this is something people can be notoriously stingy about.
“I love the notion that dogs might have favourite TV shows.
“Some of these pets are absolutely living their best lives.”
Star of the week
CUDDLY kitty Joshy loves dressing up in superhero costumes.
The 12-year-old Selkirk Rex long-hair lives with Carol Walker, 61, in Bamber Bridge, Lancs.
He has his own calendar and “purr-chandise” range of photos of him dressed as Superman, Batman, a pirate and an Ewok – raising £2,000 so far for cats in need.
Carol says: “As soon as I put his outfit on, he purrs like mad. It started when we set up the South Ribble Pet Cat Club to help pay for treatment for stray cats.”
See cuddlesome curlycat.co.uk.
Dennis Allison is 78 years old and lives in Redcar, North Yorks.
After his border collie sadly died, Dennis writes: “I’m not as active as I once was, so I don’t think another collie is a good idea. But I do want a pet. I’m thinking of a cat.”
Sean says: “Sorry to hear you’ve lost your lovely dog. Collies are fantastic and intelligent but sometimes hard work to keep occupied, especially when they are young.
“A good rehoming centre might be able to match you with a lovely older dog with more suitable energy levels than a puppy.
“Older cats are also a good choice, as they often find it hard to get homes once they end up in shelters or rescue centres through no fault of their own.”
LOOKING for things to do with your dog?
There are activities, woodland walks and trade stands at the North East Dog Festival at Kirkley Hall in Northumberland on September 7 – and we have eight family passes to give away.
To take part, send an email marked North East Dog Fest to sundayfeatures @the-sun.co.uk.
For full terms and conditions, click here.
Sophie Thatcher, who is six and from Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, adores her gerbil Gerry.
She says: “Gerry is a little piglet that chews through everything. I give him lots of snacks and seeds but whenever he’s out of his cage, he chews the sofa and the carpet. I got him at Christmas and he’s always chewed. Mum wants to get rid of him.”
Sean says: “Here’s the bad news: Rodents chew and gerbils are no exception. It’s part of their natural behaviour.
“They’re also highly social animals, so keeping one on its own isn’t great and may lead to frustration, which might mean Gerry chews more than normal.
“The best way to keep gerbils is in single-sex pairs, in a glass tank that has as large a space as possible, with lots of deep bedding and tunnels to burrow through. For some great ideas, look up ‘gerbilariums’ online.
“If you do let Gerry out, ‘free-range’ isn’t the safest option for him or for your furniture. So maybe think about a safe penned-off area with solid sides and plenty of toys and tunnels for him to explore.”