Statistics show that Spain is in the grip of a trend towards owning a pet rather than having a child with more pets officially recorded in Spain than children under the age of 15.
But now we know just how much animals mean to their owners.
A study carried out by Amazon revealed that 52 percent of Spaniards admitted that they preferred their pets to humans and a whopping 86 percent believed their pets improved their mental health.
Around 67 percent of owners refer to their pets as their ‘baby’ or ‘child’.
And just like one does with a child, 62 percent said they celebrated their pet’s birthday each year, with 16 percent producing a special pet friendly birthday cake and 18 percent throwing a birthday party inviting other pet friends.
Around a third of pet owners have actually paid for a professional photo session for their furry loved ones and around a quarter send birthday cards or gifts from their pets to their friends and family.
Some people (21 percent) spend more money on their pets grooming than on their own and around one in five pet owners have opened a social media account in their animal’s name.
Anyone who has a pet knows how devastating it can be when they die which is why 60 percent believe that employers should grant leave to deal with the grief after a pet has passed away and 29 percent think that there should be parental leave offered if their dog has puppies.
But what the latest survey doesn’t reveal is the darker side of pet ownership.
Last year alone, 104.688 dogs and 33.719 cats were taken in by animal shelters across Spain.