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New Research Reveals Some Bizarre British Dog Owner Habits

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Do nearly 1m British dog owners take a shower with their dogs? Did you know that 27% of dog owners admit to letting their pet lick their plate after they’re finished with it? Or that 33% of owners leave the TV or radio on for their dog when they are left alone?

The findings come from a study carried out by Mira Showers and reveal that British dog owners have some ‘interesting’ habits!

Top level findings include:

  • Over 1.6 million dog owners kiss their pet on the lips
  • 2.4 million people would take a day off work to look after their poorly dog
  • Almost 5 million dog owners kiss their pet good night
  • A third of those with a furry family member regularly give them a massage (33%)

From letting them lick their face to even bathing their dog at the same time as they have a bath, the research reveals more habits of dog owners across the nation (including some eyebrow-raising special privileges):

British dog owner habits

Habit/Special Treatment% of dog owners who admit to doing this
Regularly giving them treats61%
Letting them on the sofa57%
Speaking to them in funny, unusual or high-pitched voices46%
Letting them on their bed44%
Feeding them human food42%
Getting up earlier than they would if they didn’t have a dog to feed them and walk them38%
Kissing them goodbye or goodnight36%
Letting them lick their hands35%
Leaving music, radio or the TV on for them when they’re alone33%
Massaging them33%
Confiding in them or telling them personal things29%
Leaving the heating on for them if it’s cold28%
Letting them lick their face27%
Letting them lick their plate or cup after they’ve finished with it27%
Letting them in their bed25%
Taking time off work to look after their dog if they’re poorly18%
Kissing them on the lips12%
Letting their dog eat at the dinner table with them6%
Showering their dog at the same time as they have a shower6%
Bathing their dog at the same time as they have a bath4%

Women love to spoil their dogs

It’s the women among dog owners who spoil their dogs the most with all the above, though more men than women said they’d let their dogs eat dinner at the table with them.

When it comes to the most spoilt breeds, the likes of Cockapoos (and other Poodle crosses), Lurchers and mixed breeds take the lead, over-indexing on 15 of the above special privileges. Close behind are dogs in the Hound Group, meaning breeds such as BeaglesDachshundsGreyhoundsWhippets and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are allowed to eat dinner at the table with their owners, plus get showered or bathed at the same time as their owners more than any other breed group.

Button - A Sheepadoodle

Which cities love to treat their dogs the most?

Owners in Belfast and Nottingham come out on top with treating their dog to these things; both cities pamper their pet with at least five of these special privileges more than any other UK city.

Dog owners in Leeds let their dog on their bed more than anywhere else (53%), while owners in Plymouth dramatically over-index on showering with their dog at the same time (15%).

Matt Herbert-Sandell, Digital Communications Manager at Mira Showers, said:

“Nationwide, our survey found that an estimated 822,000 dog owners shower with their dog; talk about multitasking! A dual shower is a perfect solution for dog owners who need some extra flexibility and multitasking power to help them groom their dogs at home.

The fixed rainfall shower head gives the owners a fantastic showering experience for themselves, while the handheld shower head is ideal for manoeuvring around a mucky pup!

Our survey also found that 2 in 5 owners wish they knew more hacks to make showering their dogs at home much easier, so we enlisted experts to help.”

The best way to groom dogs at home

Animal charity, Wood Green, and professional grooming experts at Purplebone, offer these at-home grooming tips:

    • The water temperature should be lukewarm. Being able to comfortably run the water over your forearm is a sign the temperature is exactly right.
    • Avoid getting water down the ear canal, as this can lead to infections. Be mindful of their eyes too, as shampoo can sting, just like it does with humans.
    • Always use a shampoo made specifically for dogs and never human shampoo because natural ph. levels are different and can cause skin problems as a result if the wrong product is used. The team at Purplebone said: “A handheld shower is what we always use in our professional grooming parlours, because you can soak all areas of the dog to apply the shampoo first, then use it to thoroughly remove any excess residue of shampoo and conditioner.”
    • There will always be some dogs that love water, and some that just tolerate it. If you can make it as pleasant as you can through praise and treats, it will be a much more relaxed experience. Ness Croft-Taylor, Veterinary Surgery Manager and qualified dog groomer at Wood Green, said: “It’s beneficial to have a handheld shower to regulate the flow, so if your dog is timid you can introduce the water gradually.”

Mira Showers monitored six Instagram image hashtags relevant to dogs being groomed at home (including #puppybath, #dogbath, #muckypup, #puppybathtime, #dogbathtime and #doginshower) and assigned them to a panel of dog lovers to identify Instagram’s cutest bath-time dogs, some of which are shown above. Permission to publish these photos beyond embedding them has been granted by the Instagram account holders.

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    1. Harvey, Shetland Sheepdog, https://www.instagram.com/p/CIMNp7tHN-k/ (Dorset, UK)
    2. Chai, Toy Poodle, https://www.instagram.com/p/CIJtTFZJtxo/  (London, UK)
    3. Mabel, Cavapoo, https://www.instagram.com/p/CHcTvXJpCwz/ (Essex, UK)
    4. Pacho, Italian Greyhound, https://www.instagram.com/p/CH4-d1gBeVQ/ (Manchester, UK)
    5. Winnie, Miniature Goldendoodle, https://www.instagram.com/p/CHqStDtJgFz/ (North Carolina, USA)
    6. Picasso, Dachshund, https://www.instagram.com/p/CIKs6n8HItL/ (Bangkok, Thailand)
    7. Button, Sheepadoodle, https://www.instagram.com/p/B6-2_2mhN5a/ (Michigan, USA)
    8. Maggie, Cocker Spaniel, https://www.instagram.com/p/CCqWDFRFS0p/?igshid=10xt8ndh48mgu (Northampton, UK)
    9. Coconut, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, https://www.instagram.com/p/CIIYdvqAFbQ/ (Singapore)
    10. Penny, Miniature Goldendoodle, https://www.instagram.com/p/CHVvR8JpiLN/
    11. Mortimer, Scottish Deerhound, https://www.instagram.com/p/CIJnE-nhHxD/ (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
    12. Tormi, Jack Russell, https://www.instagram.com/p/CHksfK0DYUM/ (Estonia)

Related: The top dog ownership trends you need to know about this year