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Pet Owners Turn to Pets Over Family for Comfort, Survey Reveals


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 Nearly 40 percent of pet owners said the “person” they show the most love and attention to in their household is their dog, according to a survey conducted by Wag!, the on-demand mobile dog walking app. Dogs ranked higher than kids (31 percent) and spouses or significant others (23 percent). 

The survey was conducted in honor of National Dog Appreciation Day on Aug. 26. 

Pet owners also take "therapy dog" to a whole new level with 44 percent of 2,000 respondents saying they are most likely to turn to their dog for comfort when they're feeling sad or angry, compared to 34 percent who would instead turn to their spouse or significant other.

Beyond emotionally leaning on pets, pet owners also said they express their boundless love in a variety of unusual ways.

Nearly one-third of pet owners would consider expressing their undying love for their dog with a tattoo, and 15 percent of pet owners said they already have one. Paw prints were the No. 1 tattoo choice (45 percent), with pet portraits (27 percent) and pet names (26 percent) nearly tying for second. 

Birthday celebrations are a big deal. So much so, that most pet owners have extended the tradition to their dog, with 60 percent purchasing them a birthday gift, 88 percent feeding them a special treat or meal and nearly 25 percent throwing their dog a birthday party.

The survey also revealed a new trend, “helicopter dog parent,” based on the fact that 19 percent of respondents have purchased technology to check in on their pet throughout the day.

Founded in 2004 by pet and family lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist Colleen Paige, National Dog Appreciation Day honors dogs for all that they do to enrich human lives and communities. The holiday also aims to raise awareness about dog adoption and the importance of providing rescue dogs with a safe and loving environment.

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