Pet- ite enclosures: 1.1 million pet owners leave their animals home alone in one room

30th September 2011

  • 70 per cent of dogs owners leave their pet shut in the house when they go out

More than 1.1 million (14 per cent) dog owners leave their pets shut in a single room when they are away from their homes, with some locked in for hours on end as their owners work full-time. Research from Churchill Pet Insurance* also reveals that the kitchen is the most popular room for owners to keep their dog in when they are out of their home (83 per cent).

The research shows that over two thirds (70 per cent) of dog owners leave their pet shut alone in the house when they are out for four or more hours at a time. The situation is particularly worrying where pets are kept in new build homes, which recent research by RIBA reveals are approximately eight per cent** smaller than the recommended minimum property size. With ten per cent of owners of large dogs*** such as Greyhounds and Mastiffs and 14 per cent of owners of very large dogs****, such as Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds, leaving their pets locked in a single room when they are not home, this can result in the pets spending hours trapped in cramped conditions.

  • The average dog is left home alone for three hours and eighteen minutes each day and is allowed into three rooms in the property when their owner is out.

A number of dog owners suffer from feelings of guilt and stress because they feel they are abandoning their pet for lengthy periods each day. Many (13 per cent) admit that they don't walk their dog as frequently as they should and 13 per cent don't take their dog for a walk if the weather is poor. Larger dogs fare the worst, as 15 per cent of their owners feel they don't give their animal the time and attention it deserves. A quarter of dog owners (26 per cent) would like to reduce the number of hours their dog is alone in the house, but are unable to do so because of work commitments.

Pete Bishenden, spokesperson for Churchill Pet Insurance, commented: "The significant number of large dogs that are being kept in cramped conditions for hours at a time is of great concern. Before they take on a pet, potential owners should ensure they have sufficient space to keep a dog, as well as being able to dedicate a considerable amount of time to looking after it. If dogs don't have sufficient space to exercise they can suffer from joint problems and weight related issues such as diabetes and health disease."

Notes to editors:

* Opinium LLP interviewed a random sample of 1006 UK dog owners aged 18+ via online omnibus for Churchill Pet Insurance. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults in July 2011. (Number of dogs in the UK 8.3 million - source: Mintel, 2011)

** RIBA report, September 2011

*** Dog size chart;

  • Toy dog (up to 10" high e.g. Yorkshire Terrier)
  • Small dog (10" to 18" tall, e.g. Basset Hound, Staffordshire Bull Terrier)
  • Medium Dog (18" to 25" tall e.g. Labrador, Border Collie, Golden Retriever)
  • Large Dog (25" to 20" tall, e.g. Greyhound, Mastiff)
  • Very large dog (more than 30" tall e.g. Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound)

For further information please contact:

Ewan Robertson/Katie Pugh
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 282 2981/2914
Email: /


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales 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.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting