More than half of pet owners admit they enjoy the company of their pet more than that of their best friends, it has emerged.
Researchers who carried out a detailed study found despite the stresses and strains of modern life our bonds with our pets remains strong, and is even strengthening.
When quizzed on the strength of their relationship with their pet, 53 per cent said they preferred spending time with their furry friend more than a human companion.
And 17 per cent favoured quality time with their pet over their partner, according to research conducted by dog-friendly Mercure Hotels.
And for good reason, as most pet owners see their animal as a positive influence on their well-being.
Three in five find their pet helps them de-stress after a tough day, and 57 per cent feel less lonely when their pet is beside them.
It also emerged seven in 10 find their pet a calming presence in their home.
James Lys, General Manager for Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon, a very popular ‘doggie hotel’, said: “Our pets are a huge part of our lives and can make our day-to-day lives richer than it would be without them.
“We have noticed a marked increase in guests who bring their pets, specifically their dogs, travelling with them to share in the experience.”
It also emerged 79 per cent of pet owners miss their pets when they travel away from home, and a quarter feel lost without their animal companion with them on the trip.
Though 38 per cent have brought their pet along for a trip at one time or another rather than leaving them at home.
And a third found the trip away from their usual surroundings made their pet more excitable than they normally would be.
Fifty one per cent think their trip could be made better with the presence of their furry friend.
When asked to consider the things they miss most about home when they go away, 17 per cent named their pet.
Though 42 per cent crave their own bed the most after a few nights away.
If a hotel offered a service where you could keep your pet in your room during your stay, one in two pet owners would take the opportunity to bring their animals along, the OnePoll.com study found.
James Lys added: “We take time to get to know our guests and understand their needs so we can try and deliver personal and meaningful experiences.
“Being able to bring your dog when you’re away makes all the difference to some of our guests, so that’s why Mercure hotels across the country now welcome dogs.
“It’s important to our guests so it’s important to us.
“We’ll create special menus and treats for guests’ dogs and our hotel teams have even been known to walk the dogs when their owners couldn’t.”
TOP FIVE THINGS BRITS WHEN AWAY FROM HOME
1. Your bed
2. Your pet
3. Your partner
4. Your bathroom
5. Your kitchen