NEW YORK — If you’ve got a juicy secret to tell, the best secret-keeper may be your furry, four-legged friend. A new survey of 2,000 American pet owners delving into how crucial furry companions have been to peoples’ lives finds 62 percent would rather tell all their secrets to their pets than another human.
What respondents love most about their pets is their loyalty, which is why 88 percent believe having them by their side makes their life feel more complete. For a quarter, they have never gone a day without a pet by their side and 72 percent feel depressed without them around.
If they do temporarily part ways, the average person can only do without seeing their fur babies for a week — anything more is just too long to bear. If respondents go on a trip, 64 percent will ask a close family member to watch their pet while they are away.
Four in five Americans say their pet has taught them to be a better, more responsible person. Just as many (84%) add their pet has brought them nothing but complete joy.
Love at first sight
Commissioned by ZippyPaws and conducted by OnePoll, the study reveals three in five pet owners found their fur babies by pure luck or coincidence. A further 15 percent originally had no interest in getting a pet until they first met the soon-to-be pet.
While 82 percent of respondents always had pets around while growing up, the remaining 18 percent did not. Nearly half of those Americans (43%) say they were never allowed to have a pet growing up. For those who weren’t allowed to have a pet, the reasons include their parents believing pets would be too big of a responsibility (27%), parents not liking animals (23%), and parents saying there was no space for pets at home (9%).
Nevertheless, nearly two in three respondents (64%) say they dreamed of one day owning a pet for themselves.
“Our pets are so much more than just adorable creatures living rent-free in our homes,” says Jen Glaser, ZippyPaws Co-Founder, in a statement. “They are our friends and family, and they love us unconditionally. You can always be certain that you can confide in them about anything you’re going through and they’ll still be there.”
More than just a pet
More than half of Americans with pets (56%) got a pet to match their lifestyles. More specifically, 27 percent adopted a pet to match their healthy lifestyle, where they can both exercise and keep up with good habits together. Others got their pets to match with their active, busy lifestyle and outgoing personality (24%).
Four in 10 pet owners got a pet as a result of a major milestone in their lives. These meaningful moments include starting a new relationship (17%), living on their own (13%), and moving into a new home (13%). When pets come home for the first time, respondents have a few tricks to help get them acclimated to their new environment, including a nice bath, a vet checkup, introducing them to other pets in the home, and plenty of cuddling.
Once they bring their pets home, Americans say their companions are with them through all their pivotal milestones, like moving into a new home (40%), getting a new job (34%), getting into a relationship (34%), and experiencing a breakup (25%).
“It’s really incredible to see what people go through with their pets,” says Ashley Newman, ZippyPaws Marketing Manager. “It just goes to show how strong that bond is between pet and owner. Your lives are intertwined, and that’s a dynamic that we’ve seen shift over the decades. Pets have become more than just the dog that sleeps outside every night.”