By Livy Beaner // SWNS
For nearly four out of five Americans, the ideal welcoming committee has four legs.
That’s according to a new poll of 2,000 pet owners, where 78% agree that seeing their pet when they come home is the best part of their day.
So it’s no surprise that 71% said they regularly put their pet’s needs before their own.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Chewy, the survey aimed to uncover the degree to which pet parents prioritize their pets’ happiness when making major life decisions and planning their daily activities.
According to respondents, pets influence what trips they take (40%), where they live (37%) and the people they hang out with (35%), and one-third (36%) said their pet even impacts how they spend money.
Pets also play a significant role in all aspects of day-to-day activities with nearly half of respondents (49%) admitting they plan their free time around being with their pet.
More than two in five (43%) would change plans so their pet could be included, and 39% would rather cancel to spend more time with their pet.
Most commonly, it was to keep their pet from getting lonely (66%), but 51% did so to give their current pet more exercise.
“Pets have become our whole world, so it’s no surprise to see them claim a place of prominence in the household,” said Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy. “This reflects the larger trend of ‘pet prioritization,’ or placing our pets’ needs above our own when considering major life decisions or planning our social calendars and daily behaviors.”
To bolster their pet’s well-being and happiness, 23% have cooked them a homemade meal and 21% let them choose where they’d like to sleep in bed first.
Almost half (46%) of pet parents have spent more on their pet’s medical needs than their own.
Getting a pet has changed respondents’ lives in ways they couldn’t have imagined.
Since getting a pet, respondents believe they’re more responsible (40%) and empathetic (32%). Almost three in 10 (28%) even feel more prepared to have kids.
About half (51%) of respondents say they’re equally in tune with both their and their pet’s emotions, and two in five (20%) say they're more in touch with their pet’s emotions than their own.
This essential bond has allowed pet owners to pick up on their pet’s love language: more than half (55%) said their furry friend has a love language, and 36% of them believe it to be physical touch in the form of petting, kissing and hugs.
Another 24% believe quality time is the way to their pet’s heart.
“The deep understanding of our pets’ emotions and personalities increases our attentiveness to their needs and the desire to provide them with premium care and comfort,” said Nelson. "Although this can sometimes lead to high costs, affordable options like wellness and insurance offerings and online vet visits through Connect with a Vet can empower pet parents to keep their pets as happy as possible."
Understandably, this may be why many respondents find it harder to leave pets at home.
More than half (62%) wish they could bring their pets with them when they leave either “all of the time” or “most of the time.”
And for those times when it’s better to leave them at home, pet parents give them hugs and kisses (42%), give them their favorite toy or blanket (39%) and turn on the TV (35%) to make sure they are comfortable and happy.
It’s no surprise that 35% of pet owners cited “giving me kisses when I get home” as a way they bond with their four-legged friend.
Other common rituals pets and their parents share are watching TV or a movie together (38%) and lying next to one another in times of stress (36%).
But others share more intimate rituals. like taking a nap together (34%) or being “supervised” by their pet when they are in the shower or bathroom (32%).
TOP DECISIONS INFLUENCED BY PETS
- Getting another pet - 62%
- Medical expenses - 46%
- Changing plans – 43%
- Canceling plans – 39%
- Trips and vacations - 40%
- Where you sleep in bed - 21%