NEW YORK — Ninety-two percent of pet parents still fall for myths about their furry friends, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners looked at some of the most common pet-related myths people still believe, finding that 68 percent of dog parents didn’t know that a wagging tail doesn’t always signal happiness.
Contrary to what many humans believe, this particular act can also signify interest and alertness. Another 38 percent falsely believe that a cold, wet nose means a dog is healthy. In reality, a wet nose can simply be a result of a dog licking it, which can improve their sense of smell.
Similarly, 42 percent of cat parents incorrectly believe that their feline friends can see in complete darkness. While cats can see in very low light, they cannot see in total darkness.
Another common myth is that cats always land on their feet, which 41 percent of cat parents believe to be true, even though a cat’s ability to land on four paws can be contingent on its overall health and wellness.
Conducted by OnePoll with Stella & Chewy’s, maker of raw and raw-inspired pet food, the survey also found that nearly half of pet parents agree that it can be hard to know how to best care for their pet with all of the information available today (46%).
However, most know their pet has a set daily routine (73%), especially dogs (78% compared to 63% of cats). For both cats and dogs, this routine likely includes eating (64%) and waking up at the same time (55%) every day.
Dogs also get used to going outside at the same time (57%) while cats are used to sitting in the same part of the house (60%). When it comes to feeding time, three in five pet parents said their pet has a different personality when they’re hungry, with cat parents being more likely to say this (66% vs. 57% of dog owners).
The survey also found that pet parents still believe in certain myths about their pet’s diet. More than a quarter of dog parents thought that homemade pet foods are healthier for dogs than store-bought pet food (28%) and many cat parents were under the impression that cats shouldn’t eat any human food (30%). However, there are some human foods that cats can safely eat.
One in five believe their pet should go to sleep on a full stomach (23%). When it comes to cats, many believe the popular myth that they enjoy milk (29%), but plenty of cats are actually lactose intolerant.
In fact, another common myth is that all human food is bad for pets, which is false. Seven in 10 pet parents admit to feeding their pet human food sometimes, with dog parents being more likely to do so (77% vs. 54%).
When it comes to pet diets, pet parents shared a variety of reasons for changing their furry friend’s diet like improving their health (48%), being recommended by a vet (38%), or because they simply needed a change after eating the same food after so long (32%).
Of those whose pet has had a change in diet within the past year (31%), they mostly switched from primarily dry food (24%) to a mixed diet (26%).
“Half of pet parents admitted that they don’t know much about raw diets,” a spokesperson for Stella & Chewy’s says in a statement. “Frozen raw and freeze-dried raw pet food are two great alternative diet options for pets, and have a wide array of benefits including increased energy, strong joint health and more. A raw diet is also the closest thing to a pet’s ancestral diet and it’s easy to feed your furry friend — all key components to ensuring pet parents are giving their pets the raw love they deserve.”
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners was commissioned by Stella & Chewy’s between July 15 and July 19, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).