We’re a nation of pet lovers in the UK, from the familiar cats and dogs right the way through to mice, rats and reptiles.
A massive 45% of us come home to a pet at the end of the day so as the temperature drops, should we be worried about them getting too cold on their own in the house all day?
Well, research by the Energy Saving Trust has found that almost half of pet owners do worry and take action by leaving the central heating on for their pets. Here are the percentages of pet owners that leave the central heating on when their pet is home alone:
Leaving the central heating on for your pets could be adding up to £140 a year onto your energy bills and isn’t always necessary.
Should You Leave the Heating on for Pets?
That love we have for our pets can lead to us humanising them and thinking that they enjoy the same creature comforts as we do but, more often than not, they don’t.
When it comes to cats and dogs, there’s no need to leave the heating on for them as they’re much more adapted to cold weather than we are thanks to being wrapped up in fur. Just think about how cats shed their fur in the spring ahead of the summer, that’s their winter coat falling off.
The best thing to do is set the central heating to gradually turn off when you leave the home and slowly come back on when you’re due back.
That’s not the only way to help keep your pets comfortable this winter, here are a few more tips:
- Make sure they have a good bed with blankets and pillows that’s off the floor and away from drafts
- Keep hutches and cages well insulated
- Don’t shave your dog during winter, they’ll be needing that fur
- Feed pets more often as they’ll burn calories keeping warm
Something that might put you off leaving the heating on is the fact that fleas love a warm home…
Now, if you have reptiles, you’re probably thinking they like it warm, and they do but they’re better off with their own heater and light just for the tank rather than relying on the central heating.
Keeping the heating on isn’t the only thing that owners do for their pets when leaving the house, some leave the lights and even the TV on too. However, what’s considered a ‘treat’ by the owner might not actually work out that way for the pet.
Leaving the TV or Radio on
Not wanting to leave your pet in a quiet house could make you inclined to leave the TV or radio on so that they have a sense of company (over half of people in one survey even have a favourite channel for their pet). However, this could actually trigger stress and anxiety.
Chairwoman of the Association of Pet Behaviour, Rosie Barclay, says: “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.”
Leaving the Lights on
Just over a third of pet owners leave the lights on for their pets when they’re out, with more than half of dog owners not wanting their dog sat in a dark house. While the house might be dark for us, many animals have much better eyesight than us in low light.
Rather unbelievably, the electricity used exclusively for pets could light 56,000 homes for a whole year.