Nearly half of pet parents admit their fur baby was a 'starter child' to test readiness for children

SWNS
·3-min read

Pets bring companionship and humor into our lives, but it's not always a smooth ride — according to new research, the average pet parent will have 231 "mini-panics" per year.

The survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners delved into these panic points, and results found the average respondent has just over four per week.

Top "mini-panics" include their pet having irregular bowel movements (47%), their pet not eating a normal amount (47%) and their pet's poop being an unusual consistency (46%).

That's in addition to their pet eating something they shouldn't have (46%) and not being able to find their pet in the house (42%).

Commissioned by pet food brand "I and love and you" and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also delved into the ways in which people parent their pets, and all the love and care that goes into taking care of their four-legged friends.

Sometimes these panics result in a trip to the vet, and the survey found, of those with children (76%), four in 10 said they've made an equal number of emergency clinic trips with their pet as they have with their human child.

There might not be a hard line between "child" and "pet," though, as 61% said they consider their pet to be their child.

And four in 10 pet parents surveyed (42%) said they've actually gotten their fur baby as a "starter child," using that as a test to see if they're ready for kids.

Respondents treat their pets like children in a variety of ways, including throwing them birthday parties (29%), wearing matching outfits (24%) and watching shows together (21%).

Results also found 41% have actually celebrated Mother's Day or Father's Day with their pet.

The lines between human child and pet are so blurred that 35% of parents admit they've called their child by their pet's name — and of those, they do so an average of 17 times per month.

"Pets are people too, and our families wouldn't be the same without our furry counterparts. We believe that the best love is the best food, and a key indicator of quality pet food is digestive health. Whether it's a fur or human baby, parenting is one of the toughest jobs there is," said Lindsey Rabaut, VP of Marketing at "I and love and you."

"Our pets are a piece of us, it's a reciprocal love, and along with that deep bond comes worry in addition to all the love and care. That is why at 'I and love and you' we do everything in partnership with our own pets, so that we know we are supporting their digestive system and helping to alleviate the top causes for concern. Happy tums make for happy bums.  

The survey found 58% want to take the best possible care of their pet since they're a part of the family — but this isn't always an easy feat, considering the trouble pets can get into.

To ensure their four-legged friend is healthy, 54% of respondents pay attention to their pet's poop, and 59% were aware that their pet's poop is a good indicator of their digestive health.

Results found that 24% research what their pet's poop should look like on a weekly basis — while 10% admit they look it up daily.

And to help their pets stay healthy, 48% look for pet food that has added pre and probiotics to support their pet's digestive health.

"One thing we all do as parents, is pay attention to poop! We care about what goes in just as much as what comes out, and we all do a happy dance when its healthy and normal. It's a sense of pride," said Rabaut. "We make all our food with the highest quality ingredients and every kibble has added prebiotics and probiotics that promote digestive health as it's critical for healthy poops."