Thousands of Britons are reportedly sacrificing their annual sunshine break in order to stay at home and look after their pets, new research has revealed.
According to a survey by free pet-sitting service Petaround.com, the rising cost of boarding kennels, catteries and sitters has forced 25 per cent of pet owners to ditch their holiday abroad. Many owners also worry about leaving their pet in cheaper accommodation, or are wracked with guilt over 'abandoning' their canine or feline friend.
Furthermore, many owners say they can't rely on friends or family to care for their pet, or were simply too embarrassed to ask. Some two per cent of the 1,250 owners surveyed admitted they had not been away for five years, because of the financial constraints and 'emotional ties' associated with leaving Fido at home.
Phil Harris, founder of Petaround.com - which links people with other pet owners who are happy to look after their animal - told the Daily Mail: "Pets bring so much joy to people, but they do require constant care and as the survey shows, this can cause problems when planning to go abroad."
He went on: "There's also the issue of trust. Pets are part of a family and, like with children, you wouldn't entrust them into someone's care without being certain it's the right environment for them.
"Finding a service or professional that ticks all the boxes can be a time-consuming and stressful task. With all these obstacles in the way, it's no wonder that so many pet owners are planning to stay at home this year."
Despite the Pet Travel Scheme introduced by DEFRA last year making it easier to take pets abroad, three quarters of those polled insisted travelling with their animals was still "impractical".
Do you trust kennels, catteries or sitters to look after your pets, or would you rather do without a holiday and stay at home to care for them? Leave your comments below...