With adoptions soaring the past several months and Americans spending more time at home with their four-legged companions, pet owners say the pandemic has shed new light on how much their pets mean to them—so much that they are impacting major decisions—according to a recent survey by Freshpet, a Secaucus, N.J.-based fresh pet food manufacturer.
The newly released Freshpet Pets, People, Pandemic Poll: Navigating Pet Parenthood in the New Normal found:
"We’re part of their pack, so when someone is missing, pets feel like the pack is not as strong and safe as it can be," said Dr. Gerardo Perez-Camargo, DVM, vice president of research and development at Freshpet. "We need to realize when we return to the office, pets don’t know how long we’ll be away for—or even if we’ll come back."
According to Perez-Camargo, signs of separation anxiety include dogs licking their lips or paws repeatedly, and cats having accidents outside their litter boxes or demonstrating destructive behavior.
There’s no doubt our furry friends are an important part of our lives. As found in the survey results, over one-third of American pet owners (37 percent) would choose their cat/dog as their companion should there be a second wave of COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, many pet owners have reconsidered their ways of living to accommodate their pets during this time.
Nearly half of American pet owners (47 percent) say their pet(s) has become a bit of a snob when it comes to their daily pet food. And according to Freshpet’s top veterinarian, it’s not necessarily because they’ve sampled a few more treats or table scraps during quarantine.
"Pets can get bored with their food," said Perez-Camargo. "Imagine if you ate the same dry food for breakfast and dinner day after day. Now and then, it’s a good idea to mix it up and provide some variety."
The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll, on behalf of Freshpet, from July 16-20. The survey polled 1,378 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are pet parents (own a cat(s) and/or dog(s)). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated, company officials said.
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