09:00 AM

Is your goodbye pooch smooch stressing your pet out?

Many of us have a to-do checklist when we leave our homes. Doors locked? Check! Lights off? Sure! Iron unplugged? Yep! Say goodbye to Fido or Fluffy? You better believe it!

Saying goodbye to pets is part of a pet owner’s routine of leaving the house, according to a recent Nationwide survey. But saying goodbye could cause additional stress for pets that suffer from separation anxiety. Distress in our dogs can range from more mild signs (whining or pacing) to more severe (accidents in the house, or behavior that is destructive or aggressive).

“If a pet is suffering from separation anxiety, performing a specific, ritual ‘goodbye’ behavior with them can trigger or heighten their fearful behavior,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “The best course is to consult your veterinarian about ways you to treat a pet’s separation anxiety, which will likely include behavior modification training focused on when pet parents leave the house.”

See you later!
Nationwide’s survey revealed that 87% of pet parents say some sort of goodbye to pets when they leave the home, with Gen Z pet owners more likely to say goodbye than other age groups (94%).

There’s a wide variety of ways they say goodbye:

  • Give them a pet (65%)
  • Kiss them goodbye (nearly 40%)
  • Just say goodbye (42%)
  • Play with them before leaving (33%)
  • Give them treats (30%)

Should pet parents say goodbye?
Separation anxiety can be a real issue for both pets and their owners. Pet owners believe they will be more anxious about being away from their pet than their pet will be when away from them. The survey revealed that while 33% of pet owners think their pets suffer from separation anxiety, four in ten believe THEY will suffer anxiety being separated from their pets.

Pet parents tend to feel bad about leaving their pets alone. Nearly 12% have purchased a web camera to keep an eye on them while they are out of the house - including nearly one in four Millennials surveyed.

Pandemic impacts on pets and their owners
Spending more time with their pets during the pandemic had a profound impact on pet owners.

Those pet owners surveyed indicated that having a pet during the pandemic:

  • Felt a strong sense of companionship (54%)
  • Helped with anxiety (32%)
  • Made owners more aware of their pet’s health (25%)
  • Gave pet owners a sense of hope (25%)

For more information about protecting your pet’s health, visit www.petinsurance.com.

Survey Methodology
Morning Consult conducted research on behalf of Nationwide among a sample of 2,200 US Pet Owners between December 10th - December 18th, 2021. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- 2%.