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While the Humans Are Away, the Pets Will Play

What actions do pet owners take when they’re leaving their fur babies home alone? We conducted a survey to find out.

Pets Will Play
6/1/2022

We’re big pet lovers at Cree Lighting, and we also know that lighting does much more than allow people to see. Flipping that switch can provide you with the comfort to know that your four-legged friend doesn’t have to feel so alone when you’re not home. 

That’s why we wanted to investigate what lengths pet parents go to when leaving their fur babies home alone. We conducted a nationwide survey—read on to see what we found.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,147 pet-owning Americans over a week in March 2022 to find out what extra care measures they take for their pets when leaving them home alone. We asked people what specific things they do for their pets before they leave, how much their pets have influenced their purchasing decisions, if they leave any particular media on for them during their hours left alone, and much more.

We also investigated the costs associated with these behaviors. Using survey responses on the length of time and type of electronics left on, we used an energy use calculator to determine how much Americans are spending on electricity for their pets every year.

The Cost of Leaving Your Pets Home Alone

Cost Factors

Our survey revealed that, on average, Americans are out of their homes for roughly five hours per day. We also found that the most common electronics people leave on for their pets are lights (2 of them), fans, televisions, and A/C units. Using these answer choices, we crunched the numbers and found out that pet owners could be spending up to $74.44 per month ($893.28 per year) on electricity for their pets justwhen they're out of the house.

For some that may not sound like much, especially when you consider that, according to our survey respondents, the average amount spent on pet sitters and dog walkers is $93.00 per month. In reality, that $893.28 extra you spend every year amounts to around 49 Uber rides, two months of average student loan payments, or a round trip flight from NYC to London! 

So the next time your pet looks at you like you’ve wronged them in some catastrophic way, just let Fido know you’re choosing them over a trip across the Atlantic every year. Even so, pet owners can largely agree that the love of their pets is worth every penny!

Extra Care Measures Americans Take For Their Pets

Extra Measures

With such staggering added expenses, we wanted to dive deeper into why pet parents take the actions they do. Unsurprisingly, the wide majority (53.8%) of respondents say they leave electronics out for their pets to make them more comfortable. Other common motivators include avoiding loneliness, entertainment, and good old-fashioned guilt. 

Of those pet owners who leave televisions and stereos on for their furry friends, over one-third (38%) believe their pet actually watches the TV, and two-thirds (64%) think their pet listens to and enjoys the music or podcast they leave on. Millennials are the most likely generation to share this belief, while Baby Boomers are the least likely. 

But leaving on certain electronics isn’t the only step Americans take when it comes to leaving their pups or kitties home alone. Nearly nine in ten pet owners say goodbye to their furry friends when they leave, six in ten give them extra pets and kisses, and just over half tell them when they’ll be back. It’s been reported that this type of reassurance can actually help pups cope with their separation anxiety. Communication is key, even when it comes to canines!

The Power of Pets

Influences

If you’re not convinced that your pet has you in the palm of their paw, maybe this will change your mind. Pets have impacted major purchasing decisions for their owner—and we’re not just talking about dog beds or fancy food. 

Two-thirds of people say that their pet has changed their vacation plans, 55% say they’ve purchased specific furniture because of their pet, and 32% of pets have impacted where their owner lives. An additional 25% of pet owners have changed their career habits (working in an office versus remotely) because of their pets. We’re looking at you, pandemic puppies!

But that’s not all pet parents are willing to do for their pups or cats. Seven out of every ten Americans would give up alcohol for a year before leaving their pets in the dark. Women are slightly more likely to make this sacrifice than men. 

Over half (51%) of pet-owners leave their house less often than they normally would because of their pets. Interestingly, Gen Z is the least likely generation to alter their plans, with just 44% sharing this sentiment.

Specific TV Shows, Music Genres, and Podcasts People Leave on For Their Pets

survey response

Televisions, radios, and smart devices are among the electronics Americans leave on for their pets most often when they’re out of the house. And, as we talked about earlier, many people believe their pets enjoy the media they leave playing for them when out of the house. That got us thinking, what TV shows, music, and podcasts do people tend to leave on for their furry friends? So we asked.

The most common answers were things like ‘Animal Planet,’ ‘Dog TV,’ and classical music, which make a lot of sense. Other people get a bit more specific with what they leave on for their pets. We got answers ranging from NPR (for their calming voices) to classic television series like The Andy Griffith Show and Three’s Company to just simple videos of cows mooing!

We may never know for sure if our pets truly appreciate these extra measures, but some pet owners clearly do their best to make sure their fur babies have everything they need before leaving the house.

Closing Thoughts

It’s clear that pets mean a lot to their owners. The better question might be, what wouldn’t Americans do for them? We can’t blame pet parents for going the extra mile for their fur babies, after all, have you seen how cute they can be? 

As much as we might hate to leave them, it’s a necessity to leave pets home alone from time to time. If you’re the type of pet parent who likes to leave the lights on, check out our wide offerings of indoor lighting solutions. Upgrading your basics will not only cheer up your pup, but it might also help you cut down on that monthly electric bill too!

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