Half of dog owners take time off work to mourn the loss of their pet

  • Half of dog owners whose pet died took time off work to mourn their loss
  • Nearly a fifth have taken a week or more off work
  • 60 per cent of grieving dog owners are honest with employers and receive a sympathetic ear
  • Research shows how losing a dog is like losing a member of a family

New research1 from Direct Line Pet Insurance reveals half (49 per cent) of those whose pet dog passed away, took time off work to mourn their loss. A third (35 per cent) of those who have taken time off as a result of their dog passing away, took just one day off work to deal with their grief, while an additional 29 per cent took two days off.

The research highlights the deep-rooted emotional attachment people have with their dogs. Nearly one in five (19 per cent) British dog owners whose pet died took a week or more off work as a result of their grief.

A third (33 per cent) of dog owners aged 20 to 29, who have perhaps grown up with their dogs, have taken a week off work because of their dogs passing away, compared to just seven per cent of those aged 30 to 39. Women are more likely to take a week or more off work (21 per cent) than men (14 per cent).

While some dog owners took the time off work as annual leave (17 per cent), the majority (60 per cent) were honest with their employers about the reason for their absence. Some owners, however, clearly felt embarrassed about their feelings, with one in eight (12 per cent) phoning in sick and one in ten (10 per cent) claiming it was a family bereavement.


Table 1: Reasons given to employers for taking time off work

Reason given for taking time off Percentage
I told work that my dog had died 60%
I took the time off as annual leave 17%
I rang in sick 12%
I told work there had been a family bereavement 10%
Don’t know 1%

Direct Line Pet Insurance 2016

Women were more likely to be honest with their employers about the reason for their time off work, with 64 per cent telling their employer their dog had died compared to just 39 per cent of men. Men were much more likely (27 per cent) than women (seven per cent) to tell work there had been a family bereavement.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, says: “Losing a dog often feels like losing a member of the family and our research shows that dog owners frequently need time at home to deal with their grief. Our policies include a bereavement helpline that helps owners deal with their loss. As a nation of dog lovers, it is important to recognise the emotional impact on someone who has lost a beloved pet and be sympathetic to their loss.”

When it comes to the difficult decision of getting a new dog, nearly half (47 per cent) chose to get a different breed of dog, so as not to face the mirror image of their former pet. Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) believe their new dog will never replace the one that died.

1Direct Line Pet Insurance partnered up with K9 Magazine, a lifestyle magazine featuring a wide range of dog ownership topics. K9 Magazine issued a survey to its readers, to which 1,043 responded.

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Notes to editors

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.
Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

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