The truth about cats & dogs: Pet comforts add millions to owners' energy bills
Article by Shubhda Khanna Nag
Pet lovers are spending millions on their energy bills each year by leaving on TVs, radios, lights, heaters and fans to ensure their animals feel comfortable even when they’re home alone, research from the UK has shown.
The study commissioned by British comparison and switching site, Uswitch, found that more than eight in ten pet owners leave on at least one electrical appliance for their dog when they leave the house. While leaving the lights on is the most common thing to do, pet parents don’t shy away from higher energy bills by leaving the heating on in winter and fans in summer even when they’re not home.
Another fascinating finding from the report showed dogs watch around 214 hours of TV per year and listen to almost 300 hours of radio. That’s around half an hour of TV and 48 minutes of radio every day. These entertainment and comfort costs along with additional gadgets such as monitoring cameras and GPS and canine activity trackers, add to the overall energy usage for individual households.
Given that Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world and Aussie households are stung with some of the steepest power bills, the cost of keeping pets happy through leaving appliances on is likely to apply closer to home.
Consider this - with around 63% of Australian households owning pets, the RSPCA estimates there are more than 25 million pets in the country, including 4.2 million dogs and 3.3 million cats.
Are you a pet lover that leaves creature comforts on for your furry friends, consider the following ways to slash your energy costs:
Don’t leave the fan on. The thing about cats and dogs is that they don’t have sweat glands like humans. This means fans circulating the air without affecting the temperature don’t really benefit your pets. Instead, get screens or curtains for your windows to keep the heat out.
Turn the lights off. Unless your home has no source of sunlight, there’s no real advantage in leaving the lights on for your dog during the day. Animals depend on natural light and don’t need the bulb on for going to the bathroom!
Switch to a cheaper energy plan. With electricity prices having seen a significant hike across many states last month, pet owners should consider switching to a cheaper deal that can save them some valuable coin. You could even look at a time-of-use plan so you can pay less for using electricity for your pets during the day when the prices are lower. Check out our award winning energy comparison tool to find the most cost effective energy plan based on your needs.