Survey On American Companion Animals And Owners
This Purina-sponsored study found that companion animal owners are highly committed to their companion animals, although some areas of concern were identified. Although owners consider their companion animal’s health to be good, veterinarians seem to disagree. Owners consider their companion animals to be well-behaved, but still note behavioral issues such as scratching furniture, etc. Companion animal owners are concerned with companion animal overpopulation but do not act accordingly.
According to 68% of dog owners and 61% of cat owners, companionship is the greatest benefit of owning a companion animal.
The top challenges to dog ownership are:
- Obedience training (15%)
- Health (15%)
- Cleaning up (10%)
- Ownership responsibility (10%)
The biggest challenges among cat owners are:
- Health (13%)
- Cleaning up (13%)
- Ownership responsibility (7%)
- Obedience training (5%)
Companion animal owners with children face different challenges and spend less time with their companion animal. Compared to those without children at home, those with children under 18 at home:
- More often own both cats and dogs (25% v. 18%)
- More often own younger companion animals, less than 7 years of age (73% v. 58%)
- Are less likely to groom their companion animals daily (79% v. 27%)
- Are less likely to celebrate their companion animals birthday (33% v 38%)
- Are less likely to vacation with their companion animal (28% v 33%)
- Are less likely to take their companion animals to stores, restaurants, etc. (8% v 11%)
78% of dog owners and 71% of cat owners rely on their veterinarian as their primary source of companion animal information.
On average, dog owners visit their vet more frequently than cat owners, and also companion animal owners without children visit their vets more frequently than those without.
In general, companion animal owners say their companion animals are well-behaved. 97% of dog owners say their dog is well behaved, however, the biggest problems with dogs are:
- Barking and growling (17%)
- Jumping on people (13%)
- Begging for food (11%)
97% of cat owners say their cat is well-behaved, but the biggest problems are:
- Clawing furniture (20%)
- Climbing on furniture or counters (16%)
- Eliminating in the house outside the litterbox (10%)
Dog and cat owners handle behavioral problems similarly, with scolding being the most frequently used method of discipline.
21% of dog owners and 30% of cat owners have solved their companion animal’s problem.
The largest health problems experienced by dog owners are:
- Fleas and ticks (6%)
- Ear infections (6%)
- Allergies (5%)
The largest health problems experienced by cat owners are:
- Hairballs (6%)
- Fleas and ticks (5%)
- Urinary tract infections (4%)
One third of companion animal owners give their companion animals medicine, while slightly fewer take their companion animals to the vet also.
The majority of dog owners (57%) and cat owners (62%) say their companion animal’s health problem has been solved. Some companion animal owners have used alternative methods for treating their companion animals, including nutritional supplements and massage.
34% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners have not had their companion animals spayed or neutered. Reasons for not doing so by dog owners include:
- Haven’t gotten to it (30%)
- Want to breed (21%)
- Too young (3%)
Reasons for not having done so by cat owners include:
- Haven’t gotten to it (27%)
- Cat is too young (20%)
- Can’t afford (18%)
The most important issue to companion animal owners is:
- Reducing companion animal overpopulation
- Promoting a companion animal friendly society
- Preventative healthcare
- Increasing funding for research to promote companion animal health