1 in 3 Americans Think Their Pet Is Training Them to Become a Better Parent, Survey Finds
One in three pet parent respondents also feel that their pets are a reflection of them as people, according to the survey from OnePoll and AskVet
One in three people believe that their pet will make them a better parent someday, new research indicates.
However, as a recent survey of 2,000 American cat and dog owners recently learned, pet ownership can come with many anxieties and expenses just as child-rearing can. For example, the typical pet owner spends $176 on initial supplies and adoption fees to bring their furry friend home and another $111 per month. That adds up to a whopping $13,320 in 10 years, the average lifespan of most dogs and cats.
Meanwhile, over 45% of pet parents actively worry that their pet might get sick or hurt, while another 33% worry their pet may be unhappy. The survey, which was conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by AskVet, also found that pet parents trust veterinary professionals the most—but are also hesitant to pay for related medical bills.
Ninety percent of those polled will call their veterinarian when their pet displays odd or unusual behavior, but only 79% will actually schedule an appointment to visit that vet. In fact, almost a quarter of all respondents (24%) say they don't take their pets to the vet unless they know something is wrong.
Overall, millennials between the ages of 25 and 40 wait for the longest to call a vet when something seems wrong with their pet — an average of nine days, compared to six days for Gen Z (18-24) and Gen X (41-55) and only three days for boomers (57+). Another 44% say they'll research their pet's health online when they think something's wrong — spending 394 hours researching total over the course of a decade.
"Pet parents often wait too long to manage their pet's wellness," says Cait Pluto, senior VP of marketing at AskVet. "The right pet lifestyle choices lead to better health outcomes, lower veterinary costs, longer lifespans, and more joy for pets and their parents. Pet parents can use virtual wellness care to manage that healthy pet lifestyle.
The desire for ongoing pet care makes sense — after all, 48% of pet parents think that caring for their furry friend has made them a more responsible person. Ninety-one percent also say they are interested in managing their pet's ongoing wellness more holistically and appreciate expert guidance through the journey.
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"It's hard to care for any living thing that can't tell you what it's feeling, whether it's a puppy, a newborn, or even a houseplant," added Pluto. "That's why it's so important to have veterinary resources you can trust to provide you with personalized, proactive guidance instead of resorting to online searches and unqualified advice."
Ultimately, one in three (33%) respondents believe that their pets are a reflection of them as people — including those who bought their pet for their kids, like 56% of the survey's parents did. In fact, 51% of those parents now say that even though they didn't want a pet at first, they now can't imagine life without one.