A third of pet owners are shirking work for pets

Whilst today is bring your dog to work day, it seems that some owners don’t come to work at all when their pets are ill.

A new survey by Animal Friends has seen UK workers admitting dodging work to pander to a poorly pet, with 42% of employees admitting they have lied to their boss and bagged a day off to attend to their ailing animal.

And one in three respondents admit that on their return to ‘full health’, they sneak off during office hours to comfort their cuddly companion.

A third of those surveyed think it should be a company policy to have time off to look after their sick pets, as the average Brit forks out £75 per year on dog sitters – and dog and cat owners use up 23% of their sick days to tend to their pets – amounting to 2 days every 5 years.   40% of 18-24 year olds have taken time off to care for a sick pet, compared to only 18% of over 55s. However, 5% of men admit they’ve taken as many as ten days off over five years, to mind a furry friend – and the poll found that women are more likely to leave their sick pet home alone than men.

In separate research undertaken by absence management specialists, Activ Absence, ahead of producing their Youtube hit ‘silliest excuses for sickness absence‘, many of the excuses HR Managers received for absence were pet related, including:

  1. My dog got lost in the snow.
  2. My cat had a miscarriage.
  3. The dog urinated on my suit.
  4. My dog ate my car keys.
  5. I don’t think my hamster is well – he seems a bit sluggish this morning.
  6. My dog had a fright and I don’t want to leave him
  7. My hamster died
  8. My goldfish is sick
  9. My pet snake was blocking the door
  10. My cat has been bitten by a dog and is very clingy today

Absence management expert Adrian Lewis said:

“It’s harder to sound credible when your pet is a goldfish or hamster, but HR Managers do have to be mindful whether you would allow time off for a cat or a dog in the same circumstances – should you discriminate on an employee’s choice of pet?  At least they are being honest and not faking illness!”  

Certainly, the Animal Friends research proved that plenty of staff are wary of giving a pet related excuse for time off.  Men are the most honest with their gaffers, as 63% are more likely to tell them the truth compared to just 54% of women.  The younger generation are more truthful than their elders too, with just 29% hiding the secret sick days versus 41%.

Westley Pearson, Managing Director of Animalfriends.co.uk, said:

“It’s nice to know that people are so attached to their pets that they’re willing to spend so much time with them – especially when their companions are ill.


“Our stats show that the average person gets neighbours or friends to check on their pets while they’re at work.”




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