Published: 10:00, 04 February 2022
Pet owners are more lenient with their furry friends than with their own children, a research has found.
The majority of them (87%) admit that their pet gets spoiled regularly, with 35% admitting that they are more likely to tell off their children for breaking 'house rules' than their animals (33%).
The research, conducted by Hammonds furniture, asked 2,000 people what behaviour they let their pets get away with and how much they think they spoil them.
When it comes to naughty behaviour around the home, the famous 'puppy eyes' seem to be effective, as only 13% of pet owners believe they don’t spoil theirs at all.
The research revealed that almost half (41%) let their furry pals sleep in their bed, and 51% allowing them to snooze comfortably on living room chairs and sofas.
One in five also bathe their pets in the family bathroom and 15% even let them lick their plates clean after a meal.
Numbers showed that cats seemed to be the most spoiled animals, as they are the ones enjoying most freedoms in UK homes.
More than half cat owners (53%) let their four-legged friends sleep in their bed, compared to 37% of dog owners.
But bunnies and guinea pigs surprisingly also enjoy a bit of a snuggle with their owners, as nearly one in five (18%) rabbit and guinea pig owners also admit to letting them share their bed.
Kirsty Oakes, from Hammonds Furniture, said: "When it comes to our pets, it’s clear that there’s not a lot they can’t get away with! It’s great that so many of us treat our pets like family members and give them the love and attention that they deserve but it’s important to remember that what you may deem acceptable, another pet owner may not.
"What is most surprising is that so many of us turn a blind eye when it comes to our pets misbehaving; something that we are not prepared to do for other members of our household. This appears to be the case even in extreme circumstances such as allowing pets to sleep in our bed or pinch our food. If anything, this research has really shown us who rules the roost at home."
Betty, a three-year-old Boston terrier, is an example of a well-pampered puppy.
Her owner Alexa, confessed that she lets Betty eat at the table at Christmas, and regularly shares her breakfast with the pooch.
She said: "Betty definitely rules our home; she has her own bed in every room but chooses to sleep in ours and comes on every UK holiday with us, we’d never leave her behind.
"I let Betty get away with plenty of things that would drive me mad if my partner did them. She’s allowed to sleep all the time, leave toys everywhere and share my food and snacks. She always has some banana from my porridge in the morning, and if she’s lucky she gets a crisp or two at the pub - Wotsits are her favourite.
"Betty probably eats better than I do. I make her scrambled eggs for breakfast quite a lot, sometimes with parmesan on top. She gets steak on her birthday and I make her birthday cakes and biscuits from scratch. I let her eat at the table at Christmas, and this year she also got an advent calendar."
In case you wish to get your home to its pre-pet condition, experts advise to get rid of your animals' bad habits and be consistent.
Rachel Rodgers, clinical animal behavourist explained: "Home rules are unique to each family, so if everyone is comfortable with the dog sleeping on the bed or sofa, then there is no reason they can’t do this. The difficulty arises when it comes to consistency.
"If a family decides their dog is allowed on the furniture, then the dog has to be allowed on the furniture all the time. A dog doesn't understand that if it’s been on a muddy walk, it should steer clear of the soft furnishings. Instead, they are more than likely going to run straight in from the garden and hop back up into their comfy spot and get mud on the sofa.
"Telling an animal off for something they’re usually allowed to do can then cause the relationship with the owner to become fraught. In fact, inconsistency can cause anxiety for our pets.
However, Rachel said it is certainly possible to change house rules for pets. This usually happens when people welcome a baby into the family or buy new furniture.
"The key thing to remember is that habits take a long time to form, and equally as long to break. If your pet has been allowed to do something for years, you can’t expect to train them out of this overnight.
"The best option will be to train them to opt for a more suitable behaviour. Give them something else they can do instead, that is more rewarding. For example, if your dog is used to going on the sofa, provide them with a comfortable bed of their own nearby so that they don’t miss out on the social side of being with you," she added.