NEW YORK — As most pet owners will admit, their furry friend is the star of the show. Now, a study finds the pandemic is just reinforcing their status as top dog or fanciest feline. Sixty-six percent of pet owners believe their dog has a “better social life” than they do. In fact, over half say their pet has more friends than they do!
According to a survey of 2,000 dog owners, 85 percent are concerned that their pets still haven’t been getting enough socialization with other pups during quarantine. Yet nearly six in 10 pooch parents said that their dogs have still gotten to see their “friends” more often than they have since the start of the pandemic. In spite of the limitations on pet play date options, the average American canine has also made three new pup pals during lockdown, according to their owners.
Moreover, the average American dog has managed to make four new human friends in the past year — and Zoom and FaceTime may be to thank for that.
Our pets are dominating Zoom conversations
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ACANA Wholesome Grains in celebration of National Pet Month, researchers also examined how the “dog days” of 2020 allowed their pet to shine digitally. Sixty-three percent agreed that their pet is the “uncontested star” of any Zoom call on which they make an appearance.
While that would naturally be a source of pride for many dog owners, it might sting a little, too. In fact, 57 percent said their friends and family seem more excited to see their dog than they do to see them — ouch. Still, over 53 percent admit they themselves have been guilty of sometimes being more excited to see a friend’s pet on a video call than their actual friend.
“Dogs have been the saving grace for so many of us during this strange and stressful year,” says Jennifer Beechen, vice president of marketing for ACANA Wholesome Grains, in a statement. “So it’s heartwarming to see owners are sharing that ‘puppy love’ with friends and family, even if they haven’t been able to convene in person as often.”
Doggie ‘dating’ increasing during the pandemic?
Puppy love of a different variety may be flourishing as well during this period. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported that the number of playdates they have scheduled for their dog has increased. Over half the poll added they’ve even played “matchmaker” for their pet at the park or other location.
Additionally, less than half of owners consider their pups “single” in their eyes. Fifty-six percent admit that there is, in fact, another pooch that they refer to as their dog’s significant other.
The extra time at home that many dog owners have had during the pandemic also appears to have paid dividends for their relationship with their furry friend. One way owners have been showing their affection is through food. Six in 10 say that, between table scraps and the extra treats they’ve dispensed during the pandemic, their pup pal is eating better than they have in the past year. Moreover, nearly seven in 10 report that since it’s important for families to eat meals together, they try to eat dinner around the same time their dog does every night.
“With so many more opportunities to show fido appreciation – in the form of extra treats, walks and playdates – it’s pretty much impossible for owners not to resist the temptation to let their dogs indulge a bit,” Beechen adds. “But one of the best ways we can say ‘thank you’ to our pets for the comfort they bring is by making sure we’re feeding them the right thing. Seeking out the quality nutrition and ingredients your pet needs in their food is key to making sure they’ll continue to be by your side for whatever the future has in store.”