I have various issues with this conclusion:
- The percentage of people considering their pets as close family is not presented consistently in Matalan's report: on page 11, we're told that it is 19% whereas, on page 27, we're told that it's 22%. Which is it?
- Margin of error rules cannot be applied to Matalan's survey as it was conducted via an online panel. If the survey had been conducted using a true representative sample (through a telephone methodology for example), the difference between these percentages would not be large enough to be statistically significant: 22% for dogs minus 21% for in-laws is only 1 percentage point.
- Anyone can have a pet but you have to be married, have a married sibling, or have a married child to have in-laws. Matalan's survey was of a representative sample of British adults which would also include a proportion of people that don't have in-laws. It's possible that more Britons have pets than in-laws.
Further, pets that don't make it into the inner family circle are regularly abandoned. According to the Dogs Trust, for example, local authorities are handling over 100,000 unwanted dogs a year. In-laws aren't so easily disposed of.
So in-laws, please don't worry about your place at the family table.