Whose health is more important to a pet parent? 81% say their dog’s

Photo (c) Dann Tardif - Getty Images

A third of those polled said they wouldn’t wait 24-48 hours to seek help if their pet started acting differently

If there’s any question about how important pet parents take responsibility for their pets, there there shouldn't be -- pet love is at an all-time high. A new survey of 2,000 dog owners confirms that, too, showing that four in five pet "parents" claim their dog’s wellness is every bit as important as their child’s. 

Many of those owners say they’re so in tune with their pet’s feelings that they know when they're happy, when they want to be petted, and is good to go energy-wise and mood-wise. 

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of pet food subscription company Ollie, the survey found that pet owners are used to their dog’s strange antics, like “trying to keep a neat environment,” “does a twirl when she’s begging for house food” and “sneezes for treats.”

Stressing out when things don’t seem right

Wholehearted pet love expands to concern, too – probably because unexpected pet illnesses can be very costly. Owners pay so much attention to their dog’s behavior, the average respondent said they get worried they’ll lose their dog four times every year.

Some of that starts the moment a pet parent detects something is wrong – 24% said they know their dog is sad when they stop eating, have low energy (23%) or cry or whine (22%).

The survey analysts said that, on average, pups exhibit even stranger “abnormal behavior” five times over a 12-month period. One pet owner said their dog was “constantly licking elbows,” while another said theirs “became lethargic and did not eat for a few days” and a third noticed their dog was “spinning around nonstop.”

“Your dog is uniquely yours; no one knows their quirks the way you do! This puts you, the pet parent, in an incomparable position to quickly identify changes in your pup’s normal behavior,” said Nicole Sumner, senior brand manager at Ollie. “These behavioral nuances could indicate something more serious.”

Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite

This prompts constant diligence for their pet’s wellness — even when it comes to sleeping. Many respondents said they try to ensure that their dog gets enough rest and do so by giving their dog a potty break before bed (39%), cuddle time before bed (37%) or a sleep supplement (34%). In fact, 35% are just as concerned about getting ready for their pet to go to bed as they are – implementing a bedtime/”lights out” time (69% said by 9pm for most dogs).

Nearly a fourth of the surveyed pet parents said their primary reason Fido gets a good night’s sleep is to make sure the pup has enough rest so they can be fully active the next day – a goal no matter how tired they personally are from their day.

Taking cues from the surveyed pet owners

What can dog owners take away from their fellow pet parents? ConsumerAffairs gleaned these three things from the survey that might come in handy:

Exercise: More than a third of owners also help their pup work up an appetite by exercising before meals (38%).

Meals: Caring for their canine carries over to mealtime where pet parents shared their tricks for getting their dog to eat, like giving them a variety of foods (43%) and having in-between snack times. 

Snacks: Owners see treat time as another way to care for their dog’s well-being by bonding and showing affection (50%), helping them manage stress or anxiety (46%) and boosting their nutrition (48%).

“Every dog is different, and every day contains slight deviations from the structure dogs crave,” Sumner said. “Dogs need a healthy mealtime and exercise routine to feel their best. We support pet parents and make it as easy as possible for them to give their dogs solid foundations for healthy lives.”

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