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78% of People Use Their Pet to Get Out of Plans...

That and other surprising (unsurprising?) results from The Wildest’s 2022 pet parenting trends survey.

by Sean Zucker
June 7, 2022
Woman's hand holding a dog looking out of the window of a car driving down a desert road
Javier Pardina / Stocksy

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Being a pet parent affords us many things, including but not limited to undying affection, ample Instagram content, and the ultimate excuse to get out of plans. But more than anything, people with cats or dogs just tend to be happier in general. Given animal companionship can have such a huge positive impact on our mental health and overall well-being, it’s only fair we take a moment to check in on our pet’s wellness. So we surveyed The Wildest readers to get a pulse on pet parenting in 2022. 

The Dog Days of Surveys

The Wildest is of course a resource for all pet parents. That said, of the readers surveyed, 88 percent identified as dog parents while only 12 percent were declared cat parents. This doesn’t negate any of our questions, however, it may inform some of the findings. For instance, when asked if they openly discussed being a pet parent in casual conversation, 67 percent confidently stated yes — loudly and proudly. A shyer 22 percent admitted they also do but are often embarrassed about it, while 12 percent responded, “No way, we are not biologically related.” Now, I’m not saying that 12 percent is absolutely all cat parents but I’ve seen greater coincidences…

A Load of Sh*t

Conversely, this next question was specifically targeted at dog parents. When asked if they have ever NOT picked up after their dog on the sidewalk, 21 percent said yes and 79 percent said no and were lying. It is without a doubt the right thing to do but there is not a soul on Earth batting 1000 on pup clean up — if for nothing other than unavoidable reasons. Maybe you forgot bags or — and I’ll spare you the details — maybe your dog’s deposit wasn’t of a consistency that could have be picked up. Personally, I once skipped the polite process to avoid missing kick-off — not my proudest moment but an honest one. 

Proper Park Etiquette 

In what was the only even split of this survey, we asked our readers “Do you have pet playdates with other owners?” Half said yes, half said no. For a slightly juicier version of the same question, we asked if they ever set up pet playdates because they had a crush on the other pet owner and a commanding 94 percent responded no. What can we deduce from these results? We’re as anti-social as ever. 

So Fresh and So Clean

Outkast never did get the recognition they deserved as self-care pioneers and the same could be said for our pet’s need for similar pampering. Just as many of us spend 30 minutes a night treating our skin to several integrating products, our pups deserve a similar wellness routine. Luckily, when asked if their pet had one, 67 percent said yes. In terms of how often we bathe our pets, 41 percent replied when they were noticeably dirty and 36 percent said at least once a month — though, nine percent claimed only once a year. To them I ask, please tell me they’re getting professionally groomed?

The Best Defense is a Good Offense 

There are countless benefits to introducing a pet into your life and there are few things more rewarding than caring for a creature you love. But let’s be real, one of those things is probably canceling plans because the feeling of bailing on a social outing to stay in is pure ecstasy. Of course, most pet parents are familiar with this exercise and many of us utilize an age-old tactic. You may think the classic “the dog ate my homework” defense is tired and you would be wrong, as 78 percent of those surveyed admitted to using their pet as an excuse to get out of plans. My friends, you bow to no one. 

’Cause You Know I’d Walk a Thousand Miles…

Traveling in any form seems to always exist at the intersection of exciting and stressful. Add a cute animal to the mix and both ends of the spectrum are amplified. Unfortunately, not every pet can go on every vacation — despite our best efforts. We asked “Where does your pet(s) stay when you travel?” 46 percent stated friends or family, 12 percent enlist the help of a professional pet sitter or pet hotel, and three percent said they stay home — hopefully these were cat parents. However, 37 percent selected “Um, they always travel with me!” These are the real ones.

When asked where they’d like to travel with their pet, 36 percent said beach, lake, or river, and 38 percent opted for a more outdoorsy camping adventure, while only six percent yearned to venture out internationally. And to underscore our collective avoidance of doing anything in favor of chilling with our pets, 20 percent responded, “The joy of having a pet is you get to use them as an excuse to not go on the family vacation — we’re not going anywhere.”

If These Whiskers Could Talk 

There are a few things that keep me up at night with a fear of inevitable doom — the ever-increasing impact of global warming, the current state of our economy, and whether my dog comprehends everything she has seen when no one else is around. Whether it’s simply innocent nose picking or actions that are a bit bluer, the societal filters are generally off when it’s just you and your pet. But if they were ever gifted the ability to speak, how nervous would you be — he said clearly setting up the next survey results.

Sixty-five percent of you, in total, admitted to some level of concern with 14 percent being very concerned. However, 35 percent claimed they wouldn’t be worried at all stating they have nothing to hide. Given that, might I advise that no matter how actively you scrap your search bar history, the digital footprint is permanent. So if you’re feeling anxious about inflation or the future of our planet, take some solace in the fact that both pale in comparison to how quickly our pets could take us all down.

Have an opinion and want to share it in our next survey? Sign up for our newsletter and well keep you posted!

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Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker is an editor at The Wildest whose work has also been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He recently adopted a Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and behavioral issues rival his own.