New Survey Finds Pets Almost As Possible As Biological Children

You know that old saying that being a parent is the best job ever? How about the common soundbyte that no matter how many children a parent might have, they can never be a favorite? One might think these (obviously skewed) beliefs extend to pets, but apparently that is not the case. A recent survey from I and Love discovered that more than a third of adults who have both pets and children actually prefer the pets to their own kids.

Wow.

2,000 pet owners took part in the survey, which also found that 78 percent of respondents said the pet is a member of the family. 67 percent openly admitted that their best friend was the pet. Interestingly, when asked why the pet is better than flesh and blood family, over half of pet owners said their pets are able to better understand their needs. Humans’ ability to listen to their best friends or significant others came in a distant second.

Of course the results of the poll should be taken with a grain of salt: more outrageous responses showed that nearly half of pet owners throw them birthday parties and a nearly equal number routinely spend less cash on groceries so that their pets can eat better. We’re not sure about those answers!

A different — and more serious — survey was conducted to determine pet owners’ thoughts on food safety. It turns out that a high number of people feed their pets raw food, including meat, that could hold dangerous bacteria. According to the safe study, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki in Finland found that human infections rarely occur as the result of a pet’s food, raw or not.

That doesn’t mean it will never happen. A recent outbreak of Salmonella poisoning spread through 35 states from pig ear treats that pet owners feed their dogs. 143 confirmed human infections were documented, but it’s also possible for pets to become sick as well. 

About 99.6 percent of households found no reason to report infections based on their pet’s raw food. That doesn’t necessarily mean that none existed — it just means that pet owners didn’t make the connection.

Researcher Johanna Anturaniemi from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine said, “It was surprising to find that statistical analyses identified fewer infections in households with more than 50 percent of the pet diet consisting of raw food. Furthermore, feeding pets raw salmon or turkey was associated with a smaller number of infections.”