Pet-obsessed society: Dog, cat owners say 36% of their conversations are about their pets

NEW YORK — How obsessed are Americans with their pets? Enough that half are open to getting a tattoo of their beloved cat or dog, according to a new survey.

The study of 2,000 cat and dog owners found that 25 percent would consider getting a tattoo of their current pet — while 25 percent are already planning to get one. Another 16 percent of those polled already have a pet-themed tattoo on their body.  

But permanent ink’s not the only way to immortalize a furry friend, the data also revealed.

Forty-two percent of respondents own at least one item depicting an animal that resembles their pet, and 44 percent own something with an actual picture of their specific pet printed on it – most commonly clothing (21%).

Conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with ACANA Pet Food, the survey also found that respondents are more likely to buy these pet-obsessed products for themselves (49%) than to receive them as gifts (40%). In addition to clothing, popular pet-themed items also included stuffed animals or toys (19%) keychains (17%) and phone cases (17%).

Dog licking owner
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A third have even custom-designed their own pet merch (33%), and half (51%) are pretty convinced they’d be able to sell it to other people, too. Despite bringing their pet along for the journey in the form of tattoos and T-shirts, 80 percent of respondents stress about finding a pet sitter they trust.

Social media accounts for pets all the rage these days

In fact, six in 10 pet owners surveyed believe their own cat or dog has what it takes to become a viral sensation, and one in three (36%) even have a dedicated social media account for their pet.

“If there’s one thing the internet has taught us, it’s that people are obsessed with seeing and sharing cute animals with each other,” says Brand Manager for ACANA pet food Kirsten Mundorff, in a statement. “The popularity of animal influencers proves that pet obsession is incredibly common, even if you don’t actually own a pet – although it certainly helps!”

Most (68%) even believe that compared to other pet lovers they know, they’re significantly more obsessed with their pet. One in three (31%) talk about their pet in icebreaker situations, making it the most popular topic of discussion along with their family relationships (31%), hobbies (30%) and favorite TV shows or movies (28%)

And on average, pet owners reckon that 36 percent of all their conversations end up being about their pets.

More than half (55%) also have conversations with their pet when no one else is around, and 48 percent have told their pet a secret they’ve never told anyone else. 

“The difference between obsessing over pets online and offline, of course, is that you can channel those feelings into taking care of your pet in person whether it be with snuggles, healthy snacks or special treats,” says Mundorff. “Let’s face it, being able to pamper your own cat or dog and experience the reciprocal love they have for you is a lot more rewarding than hitting the ‘like’ button on a phone screen!”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 cat and dog owners  was commissioned by ACANA Pet Food  between Mar. 1 and Mar. 2, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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