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A national survey of 1,049 pet owners conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association indicates that the pet/human bond is stronger than most individuals would openly admit.
Of the survey respondents:
75% of dog owners and 69% of cat owners spend at least 45 minutes to more than one hour each day engaged in activities with their pets.
69% of dog owners and 60% of cat owners said that they give their pets as much attention as they would to their children.
57% said feline family members sleep with them, while 59% said their canine family members either sleep on, under, or next to, the bed.
76% of pet owners surveyed said they feel guilty occasionally or frequently for not spending enough time with their pets.
54% of survey respondents said they felt an emotional dependence on their pets.
55% and 46% of dog and cat owners, respectively, said they chose a human name for their pets.
According to Dr. Clayton Mackay, AAHA board member, “Companion animals…are like permanent children. They make a place for themselves in the family by the very nature of their codependence. The fact that really strengthens the pet/human bond is the animal never moves beyond their dependence–and they’re never critical of us for anything we do.”