NEW YORK — Pets bring companionship and humor into our lives, but it’s not always a smooth ride. In fact, a new study finds the average pet parent has 231 “mini-panics” each year.

The survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners delved into these panic points, with researchers finding the average respondent has just over four panics per week. It turns out many of those panics revolve around their furry friend’s bathroom habits.

Top “mini-panics” include their pet having irregular bowel movements (47%), their pet not eating a normal amount (47%), and their pet’s poop being an unusual consistency (46%). Also making the list are incidents where someone’s pet eats something they shouldn’t have (46%) or not being able to find their pet in the house (42%).

Pet family

Commissioned by pet food brand “I and love and you” and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also reveals the ways people “parent” their pets and all the love and care that goes into taking care of their four-legged friends.

From pet panics to vet visits

Researchers find, among respondents with children (76%), four in 10 said they’ve made an equal number of emergency clinic trips with their pet as they have with their human child. There might not be a hard line between “child” and “pet,” though, as 61 percent said they consider their pet to be their child. Over four in 10 pet parents (42%) add they actually got their fur baby as a “starter child,” so they can see if they’re ready for kids.

Respondents treat their pets like children in a variety of ways, including throwing them birthday parties (29%), wearing matching outfits (24%), and watching shows together (21%).

‘Pets are people too’

Results also show 41 percent have actually celebrated Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with their pet. The lines between human child and pet are so blurred that 35 percent of parents admit they’ve called their child by their pet’s name. For those mixed up adults, they do so an average of 17 times per month.

“Pets are people too, and our families wouldn’t be the same without our furry counterparts. We believe that the best love is the best food, and a key indicator of quality pet food is digestive health. Whether it’s a fur or human baby, parenting is one of the toughest jobs there is,” says Lindsey Rabaut, VP of Marketing at “I and love and you,” in a statement.

“Our pets are a piece of us, it’s a reciprocal love, and along with that deep bond comes worry in addition to all the love and care. That is why at ‘I and love and you’ we do everything in partnership with our own pets, so that we know we are supporting their digestive system and helping to alleviate the top causes for concern. Happy tums make for happy bums.”

Pet family

Good pet health starts with good digestive health

The survey finds 58 percent want to take the best possible care of their pet since they’re a part of the family. However, this isn’t always an easy feat, considering the trouble pets can get into.

To ensure their four-legged friend is healthy, 54 percent of respondents pay attention to their pet’s poop and 59 percent say they’re aware that their pet’s poop is a good indicator of their digestive health. One in four (24%) research what their pet’s poop should look like on a weekly basis — while 10 percent admit they look it up daily. To help their pets stay healthy, 48 percent look for pet food that has added pre and probiotics to support their pet’s digestive health.

“One thing we all do as parents, is pay attention to poop! We care about what goes in just as much as what comes out, and we all do a happy dance when its healthy and normal. It’s a sense of pride,” Rabaut adds.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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