Six out of ten people prefer spending time with their puppy than their partner
According to a new study, it takes the average puppy and kitten owner more than three months to get used to owning their new pet.
But despite all the hard work, 78% of new pet owners said that they now considered their pet to be their best friend and six out of ten said that they preferred spending time with their pet more than their partner!
Pets at Home surveyed 2,000 UK adults who bought a puppy or kitten over the last 12 months. They found that during the first few days of owning a pet, 58% of owners said that they struggled so much they wondered if they had made the right decision. Bit once they’d got grips with their new furry companion, the majority (87%) said they were really happy they did and that it was one of the best decisions they’d made.
Ginger kitten photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash
Talking about the results, the Head of Pets at Home, Karen Heskin said:
“When it comes to welcoming a new puppy or kitten into the family, there’s a lot to love and a lot to learn.
“While we know it’s one of the most rewarding experiences people can have, taking care of a puppy or kitten doesn’t come without its challenges.
"From the day they come into our lives, to their first birthday and beyond, there are bound to be ups and downs, and it’s essential that pets and their owners have the right support throughout – ensuring both they and their pets are healthy, happy, and able to enjoy the amazing moments that becoming a new puppy or kitten owner can bring.”
Sleeping puppy photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash
Top ten anxious moments
The study also revealed a top ten of the most anxious moments for new pet owners in the first 12 months of pet ownership:
- First time leaving a pet alone for a few hours
- Introducing your pet to other animals
- First night’s sleep
- First trip to the vets
- Knowing how much to feed them
- First time away for a night
- Understanding how much exercise they should be getting
- Working at home with a pet
- Finding the right pet sitter
- First grooming session
Kitten photo by Jonathan Fink on Unsplash
Underestimating the cost – and the mess!
In addition to the feelings of anxiety or overwhelm that owning a new pet can bring, the study revealed that 65% of new pet owners has underestimated the cost of getting a puppy or kitten during the pandemic. 54% said they found house training much harder than they thought it was going to be.
Some 46% of those surveyed who were also parents said that the first six months with their new puppy or kitten was even harder than the first year with a baby, with many reporting that their pet had trouble sleeping and kept them awake or woke them early. But despite the scratched furniture, stained rugs and the chewing, 85% said they were very happy with their pet, it had positively impacted their mental health and their new addition felt like part of the family.
So, how can you deal with teething problems when you get a new pet? Karen Heskin suggests that people need to get as much help as possible and not to be afraid to seek out guidance, as behaviours can change and it will always be worth it in the end:
“Training your new puppy or kitten is no easy task, and we’d encourage all new pet owners to seek as much help and guidance as they need – it really can make a difference.
"For example, for puppies who might be struggling with sleeping, it’s important that they exercise their brain as well as their body.
"So, while out on a walk, try letting them stop to sniff new smells – it stimulates their mind which can help them sleep better at night.
“With the right support, the rewards of welcoming your new canine companion or feline friend into the home are boundless."
Did you have any anxious moments when you first got your puppy or kitten? Did it take you some time to bond? Was it what you expected? Let us know in the comments section below!
Main photo - Labrador puppy by Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash