Aotearoa’s pet peeve: 90 percent of animal lovers won’t date a ‘hater’
Here’s a stat for you: people with pets are particular about the parameters for partners, with nine in ten Kiwi pet owners declaring dating a non-animal lover is out of the question.
This new research finding was uncovered on the eve of World Animal Day, 4th October – an occasion that brings people together to improve education and understanding of the needs of animals so they can live the lives they deserve.
To raise awareness, pet insurance specialist PD Insurance surveyed 2,000 customers with 20 questions to seek insights into how they relate to their companion animals.
It found that, broadly speaking, when it comes to pet animals, we’re a fiercely loyal bunch (perhaps giving the lie to the old expression that if you want loyalty, get a dog) and love our pets as much as our other family members. Sometimes even more.
PD Insurance Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Le Long said the company likes a bit of fun while discovering more about its customers and their pet relationships.
“With nearly two-thirds of NZ households calling pets family, we’re a nation of pet lovers. Animals clearly hold a special place in our hearts,” she said.
“So, as we observe World Animal Day, we’re sharing many heartwarming insights from our customers.”
To the stats: Adoption is popular, and so are pet cameras
One of Le Long’s ‘awesome stats and facts’ is that 26.9 percent of PD customers got pets from shelters, giving a significant number of animals a great home. 56.6 percent have sourced from a breeder, 13.8 percent from friends or family, 3.5 percent from a store and 14.9 percent elsewhere.
Keeping an eye on what those furry friends get up to (into) once settled in at home is growing in popularity, too. Pet cameras are the most common ‘pet tech’ in use, with 12.7 percent of pet parents using one to check what the fur kids are doing while they’re out.
However, Le Long said pet tech adoption is slow in general, as 68.1 percent don’t use any – though 5.8 percent of respondents use a GPS tracker.
“It’s probably safe to say this same percentage are proud owners of a wandering dog or cat. Clever move.”
Where technology is accessed more widely is social media: a whopping 34.4 percent of PD’s customers follow pets or pet influencers.
Vet visits: In person is best
The concept of quality care through responsible pet ownership, demonstrated across a range of responses, extends to vet visits. Most prefer in-person visits over online. Only 7.2 percent said they’d prefer a virtual consult before deciding if a clinic visit was needed, 43.2 percent said they’d always prefer a face-to-face vet appointment, and 46.7 percent said they’d not given a virtual vet a go but were open. 2.9 percent had used one but preferred in-person.
Le Long said that despite vet clinics being under pressure due to staffing and rising costs, seeing the country’s animal health practices are doing a great job is heartening.
“That’s reflected in the 76 percent of respondents who haven’t found it difficult to book an appointment in the past 12 months.”
Pets and vets: Treatment costs
Still, vet care for pets is costly and that continues to rise as medical treatments advance. The bill burden is something felt heavily by the 12.0 percent of respondents who said that before they had pet insurance, they’d put a pet down due to unaffordable treatment fees.
“This is a terrible situation for any pet parent and their vet, causing anxiety and lasting hurt for all parties,” Le Long notes.
“We can see why pet parents are increasingly choosing to insure their pet’s health and their bank account – 84.1 percent of research respondents say having to pay an unexpected $1,000 vet bill would cause concern, with 48.2 percent saying they’d be very concerned.”
Surprisingly, although all respondents were pet insurance customers, 48.3 percent didn’t have private health insurance for the humans in their household. When asked why, 7.3 percent said they valued their pet’s insurance over their own. 13.8 percent explained that their pet’s health care isn’t subsidised while theirs is, and 10.1 percent said they trust the public health system to take care of them. 28.8 percent said private health insurance was just too expensive.
Lifestyle and love: Taking a hike for our pets
If haters are gonna hate, they’ll have to do so on their own time. NZ’s pet parents are almost un-animal-ous that only fellow pet lovers make the grade with dating. 90.4 percent won’t share a candlelit dinner – or any kind of date – with those who don’t like pets.
“We very much prioritise pets at PD Insurance and so do our customers, even if it means reducing their pool of prospective life partners,” said Le Long.
The all-encompassing love of pets is also reflected in the fact that 51.7 percent take their pets on holiday. Of those, 36.7 percent have either cancelled or not booked a holiday because they couldn’t find pet care.
Delving further into accommodation for pets, the research found 50.4 percent of pet owners who rent a home are prepared to pay $50 more in weekly rent for a pet friendly place. 22.4 percent will pay $100 more, 2.9 percent will pay $250 more and 4.8 percent will pay over $250 more.
“Landlords, take note. Introducing more pet-friendly rentals could very well be a win-win for everyone involved.”
With natural disasters seemingly around every corner, she adds that it’s fantastic to see 37.1 percent include pets in home emergency or evacuation plans.
“And another 5 percent of Kiwis have pet first aid kits. Now that’s responsible parenting – in a box.”
Pet, or partner?: The jury’s out…
Finally, as a ‘partnering’ shot, Le Long said there’s the one question bound to cause controversy in pet loving households: Pet or partner, who do you love more?
“For 21 percent of our partnered-up customers… it’s the pet. But most love their pet and partner equally, at 52 percent, and 26 percent give their partner the preference,” laughed Le Long.