Is Canada going to the dogs—or are felines the cat's meow?

A new President's Choice Services poll reveals surprising
details on Canadians' favourite pets

TORONTO, July 17, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - When it comes to four-legged companions, which do most Canadians prefer? Do they consider canines to be the top dog or have cats clawed their way to the top spot?

A new poll commissioned by President's Choice Financial® and President's Choice Services Inc. has found that Canadian families actually prefer dogs over cats. Overall, 75.3 per cent of respondents identified themselves as "dog lovers," while only 55.4 per cent reported they were "cat lovers."

If those statistics make the fur on the back of your neck stand up, don't worry. Actual pet ownership is pretty evenly split in Canada. While a slight majority of Canadians (50.4 per cent) don't have either a cat or a dog, those who do have pets are almost evenly divided between cats (18.9 per cent) and dogs (19.6 per cent).

There can be no doubt that Canadians love their pets though. Fully 79 per cent of all respondents consider pets to be "important members of the family," while 93.5 per cent of respondents who currently have a cat or dog agree with that statement.

"For many Canadians, pets really are a member of the family," says noted author Kathy Buckworth, Chief Family Advisor for President's Choice Financial®. "They're willing to go to great lengths to protect their furry friends - our research tells us that the majority of pet owners say they would spend 'whatever it takes' to make their pet better if they are sick or injured. Now that's real love."

Protecting your pet—and your family

The survey, the latest instalment in a research series on the Canadian family conducted for PC Financial® and President's Choice Services by Leger Marketing, found that while nearly half of Canadians (45.6 per cent) think pet insurance is valuable, only 4.6 per cent actually have coverage for their beloved pets.

Of pet owners, 42.9 per cent indicated the reason was because the costs were too high. Another 9.2 per cent felt their dog or cat was "too old" to insure.

"Families without pet insurance run the risk of having to make a difficult decision should their pet need expensive medical attention," said Maria Forlini, senior vice president of President's Choice Services. "PC insurance offers a range of simple and affordable coverage options - starting as low as ten dollars each month - that offers families the peace of mind that comes with knowing your cat or dog will be taken care of."

Industry data shows that treating a sick pet for a simple virus can cost up to $5,000 for blood tests, accommodation in an emergency veterinary clinic and antibiotics. A broken bone can cost $3,000, while the fees for cancer treatment for a cat or dog can exceed $20,000.

For details on PC® Pet Insurance or to get a quote, please visit: www.pcinsurance.ca.

About the survey

The President's Choice Financial® survey was completed online using Leger Marketing's online panel, Leger Web, with a representative sample of 1,500 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About PC Pet Insurance

Available online and by phone, PC® Pet Insurance offers a range of simple and easy options for cats and dogs regardless of breed or age. For more information about PC® Pet Insurance offerings, visit: www.pcinsurance.ca. PC® Pet Insurance is arranged for by PC Financial Insurance Agency Inc. and is underwritten by selected Canadian insurers.

About Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX: L)

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 135,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.