Dog and cat as best friends, looking out the window together

(© kerkezz - stock.adobe.com)

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.

Sad dog, a Pug, lying on the floor
(Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash)

Sixty-three percent of respondents say they would like more support and guidance in understanding their pet’s health and behaviors. Seventy percent would even be willing to try telehealth services.

“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.”

Survey methodology:

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).

About 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.

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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4 Comments

  1. Randy Wolf says:

    I’m guilty. And I am retired and leave home only to play golf. I still feel guilty. But my Labrador retriever forgives me every single day.

    1. Joe says:

      Omg I’m exactly in the same place. Love my golfing….but when im done w/18 i tend to “rush” home. 4-5 hours tops for separation… lol.

  2. Valerie i Vanorden says:

    Only Americans can feel lousy about leaving their fur-“babies” at home alone, and at same time, vote “yes” it’s okay to abort, kill a human baby in the womb ” because unwanted, inconvenient!!!

  3. Fred says:

    My cat forced me to take care of her morning needs before mine. That way she could be back in bed before I left. She wanted to make it clear that she would be sleeping all day while I was out slaving away. Most days she wouldn’t even get up to eat the lunch I left for her. She was saving up her energy to demand attention the instant I got home.