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Half consider their pets full-fledged family

Half of all American pet owners consider their pets as much a part of the family as any other person in the household, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll released this week.

Another 36 percent said their pet is part of the family but not a full member, according to the Associated Press.

Most pet owners admit to feeding animals human food, nearly half give the animals human names and nearly a third let them sleep in a human bed. While just 19 percent had bought an outfit for a pet, 43 percent felt their pet had its own “sense of style.”

Singles were more likely to say a pet was a full member of the family than married people — 66 percent of single women versus 46 percent of married women, for example. And men were less likely than women to call their pet a full member of the household.

According to the survey, slightly over a quarter of pet owners celebrate their pet’s birthday or the day it came to live with them, and a third have included a pet’s photo or name in a holiday card.

About one in five respondents take their pets to work, and 42 percent of pet owners have taken a pet on vacation, usually the family dog.

The AP-Petside.com poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media from May 28-June 1, 2009. It is based on landline and cellular telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,110 pet owners. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.


Comment from Don Davidson
Time June 24, 2009 at 9:33 am

My wife and I are expecting our first child in October. It’s interesting that people who don’t own dogs are quick to tell us that soon our three dogs won’t be our babies anymore. My wife does a very good explaining why this isn’t so but most don’t get it.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time June 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I’m trying to figure out where we fit into the picture. We certainly regard the Beagle as a member of the family. He doesn’t sign greeting cards unless the recipients also have a pet–at which point the card is addressed to the humans and pets. He very, very seldom gets human food, and when he does, it’s lean meat and is given to him in his bowl. While he’s welcome to sleep on our bed, he normally doesn’t choose to. He seems happier in his basket nearby. We wouldn’t dream of going on vacation without him, and that’s gotten us into a couple of odd situations. I’d have to say that he’s a full-fledged family member, but we try to honor his dogness.