Half of America’s pet owners (49 percent) have never traveled outside of the country since owning their pet, according to new data.
The study of 2,000 pet owners examined the lifestyle impacts and responsibilities that come with owning an animal, and found that sometimes it’s not always just the animals that are kept on a leash.
While half of owners feel their international travel has been halted, as many as 33 percent will alter their travel plans because of their beloved pets, and prefer to travel only within the country.
The main reason pet owners struggle to travel is often the guilt associated when traveling without their pet, as 68 percent felt especially guilty when they leave their pets behind.
The research, for TrustedHousesitters, was conducted by OnePoll and confirmed that, for animal lovers, their pet really is part of the family. In fact, 84 percent admitted to viewing their beloved pet on equal terms as a family member.
This is especially true for young people who are choosing pets instead of children, as 46 percent of older millennials admit to treating their pet like their own child. And 82 percent of pet owners feel utter happiness when they are able to spend time with their pets, while a whopping 87 percent of pet owners worry about their pet whenever they travel.
“It’s a sad fact for pet owners that vacation planning can be such a hassle. Nearly a quarter we surveyed (23 percent) only take a vacation once every few years, some even less often than that,” explained Tim Lyons, TrustedHousesitters’ managing director. “Pet-sitting does rely on finding a sitter that you can trust, but there is no need to miss out on cultural and travel experiences, just because you are a pet owner.”
When looking for a pet care alternative, of those asked, 47 percent said that they would usually take their beloved animals to a friend or family members’ house to care for them while they are away. However, many pet owners are also conscious not to disrupt their pets’ routine.
In a further study of veterinary experts conducted by TrustedHousesitters, 100 percent believed animals responded better to a new carer rather than a new environment, as animals are particularly bonded to their home.
Three in 10 respondents arrange for a pet sitter to stay in their home while they are away so that their pets can stay happy in their own environment, being looked after by a caring sitter who ensures the pet stays in their known routine.
For pet owners, their animals play a particularly influential and dependent role in their everyday lives, besides just travel and leisure.
Pet owners experience less social events than those who don’t own a pet. In fact, the average pet owner misses out on 30 social events a year. That averages to 300 missed social events if their pet lives to be 10 years old. Which is why it should come as absolutely no surprise that pet owners use their pet as an excuse to flake on social gatherings once a month or 12 times a year. In fact, the study found that nearly one in five pet owners will attend a social gathering only to leave early so they can get back to their pet.
And while spending time with their pets affects their social life, another 15 percent of pet owners will go so far as to plan their social calendar around their pet’s schedule.