Four in 10 pet parents would take a lower salary to work from home and be with their pets, according to a new survey.
On average, pet parents begin to miss their pets just 37 minutes after being apart and throughout the day, pets enter their owners’ thoughts about 13 times.
The survey of 2,000 pet owners, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of PetMeds, found that leaving their pets alone at home is a significant source of stress, with 44% of respondents expressing worries about their pets experiencing separation anxiety.
Two-thirds of employed respondents reported that their pets react strongly when they leave for work.
Forty-eight percent said that their pets follow them to the door and look sad, 33% whine and 22% seem anxious and pace around.
To stay connected with their furry friends while at work, 41% of pet parents arrange for a friend or family member to check on them. Additionally, 31% of respondents use pet cameras to keep an eye on their pets’ activities.
It seems that pets’ mental health has shifted as almost half (42%) of pet parents have observed a change in their pet’s mental health and behavior in the past two years.
During this time, separation anxiety has also seen an increase, with 52% of pet owners reporting it.
To comfort their anxious pets, the majority of respondents (72%) prefer to pet and cuddle them. Other methods used to alleviate anxiety include engaging in playtime with pets (54%), offering treats (50%), providing a cozy space (50%), and even playing music (20%).
At times, pet parents expressed that they sometimes feel unsure about their pets’ communication, whether it’s related to feelings of loneliness or potential health concerns.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they would like more support and guidance in understanding their pet’s health and behaviors.
Seventy percent would even be willing to try telehealth services.
“We love to see a strong connection between pets and their humans — that’s what being a pet parent is all about,” said Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, veterinarian and PetMeds Partner. “Of course, it’s always a good idea to seek professional care if you observe any serious changes in your pet’s behavior or health. A pet telehealth appointment can be a fast and convenient way to answer any questions you have.”
The survey found that pet owners make an effort to reconnect with their pets after a long day, including playing (64%) and even talking to them (62%).
Other ways of reconnecting after a long day apart included cuddling (58%), going for a relaxing walk (44%), and simply enjoying TV or movies together (40%).
“This research confirms what we already know: People love their pets and prioritize being with them,” said Matt Hulett, president and CEO of PetMeds. “What’s eye opening is how many pet parents feel their own sense of separation anxiety and loneliness when they’re away from their pets – a concept that underscores the pivotal role our pets play in our lives.”
WAYS PEOPLE RECONNECT WITH THEIR PETS
- Playing together – 64 %
- Talking to them – 62 %
- Giving them treats or rewards – 61 %
- Cuddling – 58 %
- Going for walks – 44 %
- Watching TV or movies together – 39 %
- Training or teaching them new things – 20 %
- Sharing photos or videos of them on social media – 18 %
- Taking them on trips or vacations – 16 %
CONCERNS PET PARENTS HAVE WHEN THEY ARE AWAY FROM THEIR PETS
- Loneliness or boredom – 52 %
- Separation anxiety – 44 %
- Access to food and water – 36 %
- Health issues or emergencies – 33 %
- Pet escaping or getting lost – 31 %
- Destructive behavior – 25 %
- Other people’s handling of the pet – 14 %
TOP WAYS PEOPLE CALM THEIR PET’S ANXIETY
- Petting or cuddling – 72 %
- Play with them – 54%
- Offer treats or food – 50 %
- Give them a cozy space to relax in – 42 %
- Provide music – 20 %
- Use medication prescribed by a veterinarian – 16 %
- Use calming garments like compression vests – 15 %
- Provide white noise – 12 %
Produced in association with SWNS Research
(Additional reporting provided by Talker Research)