Media releases 2014


Gifting to pets

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 by Aimee Bourke

As if buying for family, friends and the office Secret Santa wasn’t enough, a number of New Zealanders also tuck an extra present (or two) under the Christmas tree for their pet, according to Southern Cross Pet Insurance.

A survey carried out by Southern Cross Pet Insurance asked owners what non-essential things they spent money on for their pets. The most popular was treats for good behaviour (34%), followed by pet grooming (14%) and Christmas presents (12%).

Anthony McPhail, Head of Southern Cross Pet Insurance, says 58% of people said they treat their pets as they would other family members, and isn’t surprised this would extend to including them in Christmas giving.

“The feedback we receive from owners certainly indicates that they feel a similar level of emotion about their pets as a parent would towards a child. We have a wall of thank you letters from pets in our office,” says McPhail.

“You also need to factor in that cats and dogs are part of the household for many years. Assuming you acquire them as a puppy or kitten, they can be with you for ten to fifteen – more in some cases – years. For people without children, or those whose children have left home, a companion animal that provides unconditional love can be a replacement child and satisfy the need to nurture.”

Other survey results include:

  • 17% have dressed their dog in outfits, 2% of cat owners
  • 43% of dog owners have put photos on social media, 33% of cat owners
  • 3% of dog owners and 2% of cat owners have set up the pet’s own social media site
  • 66% of cat owners let their cat sleep with them, 45% of dog owners
  • 55% of dog owners and 9% of cat owners have taught their pet tricks

And 1% said they would spend money on holding a birthday party for their pet.

Editor note: Conducted by TNS the online survey of around 2,000 randomly selected New Zealanders was carried out in September 2014. Responses were weighted to be representative of the New Zealand over 15 population by age, gender and region.