NEW YORK — Do you feel bad when you leave your pet at home? You are not alone. In fact, four in 10 pet parents would take a lower salary just 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. For many, just getting through the day without thinking about their furry companions is a serious challenge. On average, pets enter their owners’ thoughts about 13 times daily.
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. Forty-four percent of respondents express worries about their pets experiencing separation anxiety.
Two-thirds of employed respondents report that their pets react strongly when they leave for work. Forty-eight percent say that their pets follow them to the door and look sad. More specifically, 33 percent whine and 22 percent seem anxious and pace around.
To stay connected with their furry friends while at work, 41 percent of pet parents arrange for a friend or family member to check on them. Additionally, 31 percent of respondents use pet cameras to keep an eye on their pets’ activities.
Nurturing our pets’ mental health woes
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 percent 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.
“We love to see a strong connection between pets and their humans — that’s what being a pet parent is all about,” says veterinarian and PetMeds Partner Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, in a statement. “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 finds 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,” adds president and CEO of PetMeds Matt Hulett.. “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.”
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 pet owners was commissioned by PetMeds between June 9 and June 16, 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).