Survey: A third of parents say their favorite child — Is their pet!

NEW YORK — It may be hard for non-pet owners to understand, but our cats and dogs cuddle their way into our hearts and quickly become beloved members of the family. It’s incredibly common for pet owners to fall head over heels for their companions, but a new survey reveals that many actually favor their pets over their own children!

According to the survey of 2,000 American pet-owning adults, 34% of surveyed parents say their pet is their favorite “child.”

In all, 72% of the survey’s respondents were both pet owners and parents, and a fifth of those pet-owning parents even admitted to buying a gift for their furry companion more recently than a gift for their own child. The survey, put together by pet food company “I and love and you,” also found that 67% of respondents consider their pet their best friend. Another 78% said their dog or cat is just as much part of their family as any other member.

Perhaps our pets just understand us more than other humans ever could: 54% of respondents believe their pet “gets” them on a level that even their best friend or significant other can’t reach. Or, maybe our pets are just there for us much more often than anyone else when we’re really in need. A startling 68% of respondents said spending time with their animals after a long day helps them feel far better that hanging out with family or friends. More specifically, 40% of respondents said their pet has helped them through tough times at work, while another 40% admit their pet has comforted them during relationship struggles. An additional 34% said their pet has helped them cope with medical problems.

“Pets are more than just a companion, they love us unconditionally and make us want to be better people,” comments Lindsey Rabaut, Vice President of Marketing for “I and love and you” in a statement. “A pet’s love brings out the best in all of us.”

Close to half (40%) of those surveyed called themselves a “pet fanatic,” and 44% of that group (17% of all respondents) even admitted to creating a social media account for their beloved animal. Also, 42% of these self-identified fanatics said they had thrown their furry friend a birthday party, and another 42% said they’ve bought clothes or accessories for their pet.

It seems that many pet fanatics are even willing to provide their pets with luxuries typically reserved for humans. For example, 41% of fanatics said they spend more money on their pet’s food than their own, and 40% said they routinely let their pet sleep with them in bed.

With all of these statistics in mind, it isn’t all that shocking that 68% of all respondents reported believing that “pets are people, too.”

It’s clear from the survey’s results that pet owners want the absolute best for their furry friends, with 72% of all respondents stating their pet’s food should be of the same quality as their own. Another 41% of respondents even prepare their pet’s food from scratch.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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