Are you already thinking of what to buy your pet for Christmas? A recent survey conducted by M&S Bank revealed that nearly four in 10 pet owners always buy their pets a festive gift, yet more than half (53%) do not have insurance for their animals if they become ill or injured.
This is despite two-thirds (67%) choosing to include their pet in their Christmas traditions and 91% seeing their pet as a member of the family.
The M&S Bank research revealed that a fifth (21%) of pet owners prepare their pets a Christmas dinner of their own, while 16% go Christmas shopping specifically for their furry friends. More than one in 10 (13%) also dress their pets up in Christmas-themed jumpers or outfits.
Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, says: "More than half of us now own a pet. While it's great that a massive 91% see their pets as members of the family and want to include them in this special time of year, it's perhaps surprising that less than half have insurance, leaving themselves exposed to significant unexpected costs.
"Taking out insurance - and selecting a policy that's right for you and your pet - can provide peace of mind for pet owners, particularly at this time of year, when there are often more potential pet hazards around the home, such as baubles and tinsel hanging from the tree, not to mention chocolates and candy canes."
When it comes to those who don't have insurance for their pets, common reasons include not believing it's worth the money (25%) or believing that it's too expensive (41%). A quarter (26%) feel they don't need it.
However, if unexpectedly faced with the average veterinary bill of around £793, nearly four in 10 (39%) pet owners admit they wouldn't currently be able to cover the cost.
Mr Stokes continues: "The cost of treatment has increased in recent years due to advances in veterinary science. Having the appropriate insurance in place can help to ensure you're able to seek treatment without the worry of costly fees when you're least expecting them."