With temperatures plummeting to -6°C in the UK during the winter months, many of us have our pets in the forefront of our minds.

Our latest research shows that protecting our furry friends from the cold goes much further than wrapping them in a blanket, adding extra hay into their bedding or buying a coat for their frosty walks.

Top 10 things we do for our pets around the home

  1. Put the heating on when it’s cold (41%)
  2. Left the radio on for them while out (33%)
  3. Left the TV on for them while out (26%)
  4. Put a fan on to keep them cool (25%)
  5. Leave lights or night lights on for them while they sleep (23%)
  6. Installed a carbon monoxide alarm to keep them safe (13%)
  7. Run hot bath for them (8%)
  8. Installed a camera to watch them while away (8%)
  9. Microwaved their food so it tastes better (7%)
  10. Put the air con on (6%)

A whopping 41% of us have confessed that we’ve turned our heating on purely for our pets and nearly 8% run hot baths for them which could cost up to £3 a day.

running hot bath for pets

A third of the nation leave the radio on for their furry friends while out, and 5,283,216 pet parents* can’t resist taking a peek at the camera to see what they get up to when we’re off on holiday.

Installing a Smart camera and having the luxury of checking on your pets whenever you miss them costs home owners around £13 a year.

checking pets on security camera app

How much do pets cost us in electricity?

While some Brits will go above and beyond to make the furry members of family comfortable, this could be costing us an arm and a leg depending on the appliances used.

Some things like air cons are power-hungry and very expensive to run so using more energy efficient alternatives like fans can help us save money and the planet.

Creature comfortsCost per dayCost per year 
Put an electric heater on for them while you're at work £2.56 £204.80 Based on leaving a fan heater on for 8 hours a day, 5 working days a week for 4 months.
Electric blanket (60 watt)8p£13.98Using an electric blanket all night, every night for half a year.
Boiling a kettle for hot water bottle (1.5 litre kettle)2p per boil£5.82If you fill up a hot water bottle once before work and once before bed for your furry pal, it could cost you around £6 a year on top of all the teas and coffees you have!
Microwaving their food for 2 minutes1p per meal£2.10Microwaving your furry friend's breakfast and dinner every day for half the year could add around £2 to your electricity bills.
Leaving the TV on when you're at work11p£28.29Leaving your 55 inch Smart TV on for 8hrs, 5 days a week for your pets could cost an extra £28 in addition to all the Netflixing marathons when you're at home in the evening!
Leaving the radio on for them when you're at work1p£1.66If you're worried your companion gets bored while you're at work, leaving Classic FM could be a cheaper way to keep them entertained than leaving the TV on, coming in at 1p per day 8hrs for 5 days a week.
Installing a Smart camera to watch your pet while you're away3p£12.58As a Smart cam is on 24/7, the running cost over 1 year would be around £13.
Installing a carbon monoxide alarm to keep all members of the family safe1p£2.80CO alarms are on 24/7, but for a yearly cost of £2.80 to alert you of a potentially dangerous carbon monoxide leak, this nifty device really is priceless.
Putting the air con on to keep your pets cool while you're at work£3.71£296.96A 2900 watt air conditioning unit requires a lot of electricity and leaving it on for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 4 months could add around £297 to your bill.
Using an electric fan to keep them cool14p£25.63Instead of putting the air con on, a cheaper way to keep your pets cool in the summer is to use a fan. Keeping a fan on for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months costs less than 15p a day.
Running hot baths for your pet50p per bath£26Running 1 hot bath a week could cost you around £26 a year or 50p a bath for your pet. Based on using a 3000 watt immersion heater to heat up a 60 litre bath tub.

Of course, these running costs are only estimates. Your actual costs will depend on what appliances you’re using, how often and how energy efficient they are.

to see how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, get a Smart meter, make a note of your energy usage without for example, running a bath and then compare it to when you bath your pooch. Prepare to be surprised at how quickly things rack up.

Are you a cat person or dog person?

Our study also showed that there’s a clear favourite when it comes to cats and dogs.

Not only are we far more likely to turn the heating on for our dogs and run them warm baths but our canine pals are also given higher quality entertainment, food and even safety measures in the home.

If you worry your dog will get lonely when left by themselves, you aren’t alone…

1 in 3 dog owners leave the TV on for their canine pals

Twice as likely to compared to cat owners.

Leaving back-to-back episodes of Made in Chelsea on for your pooch can add as much as £28 onto your yearly electricity bill.

Dog-owners are also far more likely to leave a radio on for them at 38% vs 23% of feline owners.

leaving radio on for pets

Dogs in the UK are also treated to warm meals more frequently than cats with their food being microwaved so that it tastes better.

9% of dog owners heat up their dinners on these cooler nights compared to just 5% of cat owners.

Carbon monoxide and pets

Interestingly, as carbon monoxide affects all family members, including pets, dog owners were nearly twice as likely to put their pets safety first by installing a carbon monoxide alarm than cat owners.

carbon monoxide and pets

Installing a carbon monoxide alarm is the best way to protect your family from carbon monoxide leaks.

Carbon monoxide is dangerous for both humans and animals alike and in the event of a leak, our pets are more likely to show the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning before us.

More information can be found on our Carbon Monoxide Safety hub pages.

Most likely to install CO alarms for their companion
16% of dog owners
vs
9% of cat owners

What lengths do you go to make sure the fluffy members of the family are comfortable?

*Based on 8% of the UK population of 66,040,200 as of 30/06/18, source ONS.

The price per unit in this blog post is in pence per kWh. The unit rate of 16p per kWh of electricity (inclusive of VAT) is based on the weighted average unit rate of the OFGEM SVT Cap for direct debit customers across all regions as at 31 January 2019.

The running cost of appliances is estimated by using the wattage of each appliance taken from the manufacturers website, multiplied by number of hours the appliance is used for, multiplied by the unit rate of 16p per kilowatt hour as per npower’s Standard Variable Tariff.