A recent survey paid for by Milo's Kitchen and conducted by Kelton Research showed just how highly a majority of American pet owners think of their furry companions. The survey showed that 81% of Americans consider their dogs to be equal family members. 54% of Americans said that they consider themselves "pet parents" rather than "owners".
Other results of the Pet Parent Survey are as follows:
58% of American dog owners are comfortable calling themselves “Mommy” or “Daddy” when referencing their dogs
35% refer to their dog as their “son” or “daughter”
10% have celebrated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with their dog
2 out of 3 pet parents admitted they use two, if not more, nicknames for their pups
72% of dog owners with children apply the same disciplinary standards to their dogs as they do with their kids
62% said that their dogs have their own chair, sofa, or bed
13% of those surveyed said their dogs have their own room
81% of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays, and have celebrated at least once
77% have admitted to buying their dog a present for their birthday
74% said they share at least one meal with their dogs each day
60% believe they appreciate their pups more now more than their childhood dog
2 in 3 dog parents believe they are better parents to their dogs than their mother and father were to their dogs
79% say they talk with their significant other more about their dog more than politics
55% discuss topics including their dog more than their human friends
48% talk about their dog more than their job
45% discuss their dogs more than their relationship
57% say they and their partners devote more time chatting about their pups than intimacy
23% have a photo album dedicated to just pictures of their dogs
16% have started scrapbooks for their dogs
71% have at least one dog picture on them at all times that they show off to others
"According to the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 millions homes." Out of those 72.9 million households that own pets, about 46.3 million own dogs. If the numbers in the Kelton survey hold true, that would mean that an estimated 37,503,000 American households treat their dogs like they are family members rather than just pets.
Samantha Whittenburg, a Newark NJ resident faced with similar questions to those asked in the Pet Parent Survey, commented that "[She] never thought [she] would be one of those "crazy pet people". Before you bring a pet into your home, it can be hard to understand how much of a part of your life they can become."
It seems like "crazy pet people" are in good company, though. While people without pets may think that pet parents are a little bit weird for treating their animals so well, it seems that the majority of pet owners in this country would sympathize with owners who treat their animals like more than just pets. It's nice to know that, with all the stories we hear about animal abuse and neglect, so many dogs have loving homes where they are considered to be part of the family.