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Pets Cost Home Owners £78million in Energy Bills 

New research conducted by the Energy Saving Trust suggests that £78million a year extra is being spent on gas and electric by pet owners in the UK as they worry about their furry friends being cold, stressed or lonely whilst they are out.

This latest study indicates that two out of five pet owners like to leave their heating on during the day in order to keep their pets warm, with a quarter leaving the radio on and a tenth leaving the TV on for company. It has been calculated that all of this additional energy used in the UK to keep pets warm and entertained could light 56,000 homes for an entire year.

47 per cent of cat owners and 53 per cent of dog owners leave their heating on when they’re not in the house as they are concerned that their pet will be cold. However, just by leaving your heating on all day could mean you are spending up to £140 more a year on your energy bills and experts suggest that you could be doing your pets more harm by doing so.

Keeping Pets Warm

Speaking of the findings, chairwoman of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counselling, Rosie Barclay, said: “Our pets have different needs when it comes to staying warm and comfortable, but people are often tempted to humanise their pets, thinking they enjoy the same things as us.

“Dogs and cats by and large are designed for the outdoors and don’t necessarily need the heating left on for them. It’s far better to let the temperature reduce gradually when you head off to work, then gradually increase when you get back. You can do this quite easily by programming your heating.”

She also goes on to explain that if you do leave the radio or TV on whilst you go out, you could be creating anxiety problems for your pet. Our pets are clever and they will start to associate the radio or TV being left on as a sign that you are about to go out and that they won’t be receiving any attention.

Alternative Ways of Comforting Your Pet

It is far more beneficial to leave your pet with some treats that are hidden around the house or within a toy for them to interact with. Try putting some treats in a cardboard box that is also full of crunched up paper. This provides a more positive association for your pet when you’re leaving the house.

If you can’t do the above, then an alternative is to leave them with a t-shirt you have recently worn as this will provide them with far more reassurance than the TV or radio will.

Rosie also went on to say, “If owners are worried about their pets’ behaviour when left alone, they can contact their vet who if necessary will refer them to a qualified animal behaviourist.”

How Can You Save Energy in the Home?

There are many ways you can cut down the energy consumption within your home whilst still spoiling your pet and this doesn’t always involve switching things off entirely.

All homeowners are encouraged to install smart thermostat within properties that will allow you to control your heating even when you aren’t at the property. With numerous smartphone apps that are now available, you can switch on your heating before you get home if you’re going to be there sooner than expected, or, you can switch it off if you’re going to be later than you anticipated.

You can view a good range of smart thermostats here

Furthermore, if you invest in a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves, you could save yourself around £80 to £165 a year. And, just by turning down the temperature on your thermostat by one degree, you could save between £85 and £90.

Other simple things include turning all of your appliances off standby when you’re not using them. The majority of electrical items can be turned off at the plug without affecting their programming and by doing so you could save around £30 a year. There are also standby savers you can buy that help you to turn all of your appliances off standby at once.

If you’re not sure if you can switch an appliance off at the plug without affecting it, always check the instructions first. Things like your satellite TV or digital recording facility may need to be left on to record programmes.

So, next time you venture out and leave your pet at home, leave them with energy-efficient distractions like treats and toys – and don’t forget to not just switch your TV and radio onto standby, but off at the plug too. These simple changes could really make a difference to your energy bills, and they’ll result in less anxious pets as well!

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