NEW YORK — Four in five pet owners are happy to simply be at home for the holidays with their pet, citing that their animal friend makes all holidays better (81%). A survey of 2,000 pet owners finds that as we approach the start of seasonal festivities and celebrations, families and single pet parents are extra focused on their animal companions during this time of year.
Thirty-nine percent of pet owners always get their pet something for the holidays and most say they have the most time to spend quality time with their pet during the holiday season than at other times of year (51%).
To get their pet in the holiday mood, pet parents are looking to spend an average of $50 on their pet’s holiday gift this year. However, many would be open to going over this amount (41%) to make their pet happy with new pet toys (74%), treats (73%), and clothes (29%).
Others get their pet in the holiday spirit by feeding them more treats (54%), feeding them human food (30%), and taking them out more (31%).
Is a pet a good holiday present?
Conducted by OnePoll for MetLife Pet Insurance, the survey reports that more than a third of survey respondents have gifted a pet to a family member or friend (35%). In fact, 38 percent of respondents with children have given their child a pet as a holiday gift.
Half of parents say their child was the one who asked for a pet as a holiday gift (51%), going to lengths like asking several times (58%) or trying to prove they’re responsible enough to own a pet (50%). A fifth of parents say their children even gave a presentation about why a pet would be a good addition to their family (21%).
“There are many things people may not immediately think about as they adopt or gift a pet this holiday season,” says Brian Jorgensen, head of pet insurance at MetLife, in a statement. “Considering both the short- and long-term responsibilities like the safety and health of your pet from the start can ensure that all the memories with your furry family members – during the holidays and beyond – are happy ones.”
Nearly a quarter of parents who got their pet after having kids admit they were more excited than their child (23%), but 48 percent they were both equally excited.
Furthermore, the months leading to the holidays may also be prime for adopting a pet, with one in six saying fall is the best season to do so. This may be because 41 percent of respondents needed to spend up to a week at home trying to get their pet acclimated to their new environment.
Pet care during the holidays can be stressful
Whether the pet is a new addition to the family or not, the survey revealed that pet parents have a lot to consider as they care for their animal companions during the holiday season and beyond.
The poll found that pet owners would be reluctant to leave their pets behind during the holidays, especially since nearly a third have spent the holiday season away from their pet in the past (31%). These respondents mentioned that while preparing to leave, they worried about their pet being fed enough or on time (55%), finding somewhere their pet will be happy (46%), and providing their pet’s caretaker with all of the essentials (46%).
Most pet owners also spent at least a week researching what it’s like to own their pet (55%) and considered other parts of the decision-making process like the size of the pet (56%), costs like food or insurance (53%), and the breed of pet (53%).
To prepare their home, pet owners purchased the right pet furniture like beds or tanks (47%) and pet-proofed their home by blocking small spaces and securing electric cables (36%).
As pet parents consider the long-term responsibilities of caring for their pet, many are concerned about their animal’s mobility (42%), issues with their vision or hearing (35%), or arthritis (32%) as they age. “The holidays are a special time to make memories with your loved ones – including your pets,” Jorgensen says. “Many people consider adding an animal to their family during this time, and, given the proper consideration, that can make for a really happy holiday season.”