Euromonitor International's latest report, Pet Care in the United Kingdom, examines the changing UK pet products market, finding that the UK pet humanization trend may be playing a role in the rising pet obesity trend.The report projects that more "diet" pet food products, including low-calorie and portion-controlled pet food options, will be offered in 2012 by petfood manufacturers. "Obesity is also emerging as a major issue for pet owners in the UK, driven in large part by the fact that many are feeding their pets 'human' food," said Lee Linthicum, Euromonitor's head of food research. "It does offer opportunities for the pet products market, as 'humanisation' fuels pet owners' desires to spend more on their pets; but it also perpetuates the increasing costs associated with owning a pet." In addition to increasing costs, Euromonitor also found that increasing time and budget constraints have caused UK pet owners to switch from owning dogs, to owning low-cost, low-maintenance animals like cats and reptiles. "Not all owners can afford these costs," Linthicum said. "It puts downward pressure on the country's dog population, because of the demand on time and money that is required for these animals. It burdens those owners that want to offer the best for their pet but cannot afford to do so."
The proportion of UK dog-owning households fell particularly for large dog breeds, whose ownership rates fell from 2.8 million in 2006 to 1.8 million in 2011, the report found. At the same time, the proportion of cat-owning households rose from 24.6 percent to 25.4 percent over the same period. The full report can be purchased online.