Are you the type of pet owner that leaves the heating on when you go out? If so, you’re not alone with more than half (53 per cent) of dog owners and 47 per cent of cat owners, worried their pet will feel cold when they're not around, so crank up the thermostat before heading out. But leaving the heating on all day for your pet could add up to £140 a year on your energy bills.
The research by the Energy Saving Trust also found that 22 per cent of dog owners admit they regularly leave on the TV while 38 per cent switch on the radio to keep their pet company. Of those who leave a TV on for their pet, 71 per cent choose to leave on a large, high-energy consumption appliance with 44 per cent leaving it on for between one and four hours a day.
- of dog owners leave the lights on for their pooch
While more than a third of pet owners (38 per cent) and 53 per cent of dog owners admit to even leaving the lights on for their pets when they are out. In the UK the electricity used to keep pets entertained is enough to light 56,000 homes for a full year.
Rosie Barclay, chairwoman of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, says: "Dogs and cats by and large are designed for the outdoors and don't necessarily need the heating left on for them. It's far better to let the temperature reduce gradually when you head off to work, then gradually increase when you get back. You can do this quite easily by programming your heating.
"Even something like leaving the television on when you go out can actually trigger separation anxiety and stress for your pet. This is because our pets are clever and associate switching on the TV or radio as an indication they are about to be left on their own and not receive your attention. It's far better to leave your pet with a play toy with a treat hidden inside, or even hide some treats around the house, for example in a cardboard box full of scrunched-up paper.
"But if that's not an option you could give them a t-shirt you slept in and it will have your smell on it. This will likely give them far more comfort than any programme on television or the radio."
Almost half (46 per cent) of people surveyed have a favourite channel for their pet to watch, with the BBC (14 per cent) and ITV (13 per cent) channels ranking high in the nation's favourites - and now their pet's too, says the EST.
Find out how to keep your cat trim this Christmas here. Plus how to save ££s on petcare here.