PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American pet parents significantly underestimate the current pet homelessness issue facing the country, according to a new survey commissioned by PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, and conducted by Wakefield Research.
When asked for their thoughts on the approximate number of pets that enter shelters each year in North America, 84 percent of survey respondents said they believe the answer is less than 1 million pets per year. Alarmingly, the actual number is closer to 6.5 million annually—a harsh reality that approximately two percent of survey respondents seem to grasp.
The good news is pet adoption is widely recognized as a solution to the pet homelessness issue, and an increasingly popular path when prospective pet parents decide to add a new four-legged member to their family. Ninety-six percent of those surveyed agreed that more pets would be rescued if people received more information on how to adopt a pet.
“This survey demonstrates the continuing need to educate current and prospective pet parents about how easy it is to adopt a pet, and the difference adoption can make to this issue that is so wide-spread across the U.S.,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., president of PetSmart Charities. “Programs like PetSmart Charities’ National Adoption Weekends are moving the needle by finding homes for as many as 20,000 pets in a single event. But there is more we can do. Through the Survey Companion Guide, we’re continuing to raise awareness of the pet homelessness issue and how we can work together to ensure every pet finds the forever family and home they deserve.”
Seventy percent of pet parents surveyed say they would look to an animal welfare agency as a key source of information about how to adopt a pet, and another 40 percent of those surveyed said they would also turn to their local pet store. One need only look at PetSmart’s successful in-store adoption program to see that survey respondents were right on both counts. Nearly two of every 10 pet adoptions in North America are facilitated at a PetSmart store. Since the early 1990s, PetSmart Charities has partnered with more than 3,000 animal welfare agencies to operate pet adoption space inside PetSmart stores, while also offering pet food and supplies for pets while they await adoption. Nearly all the 1,500-plus PetSmart stores feature adoption space at their stores, free to their adoption partners, creating a convenient, friendly environment where pets are connected with new forever families. Since the program began, PetSmart and PetSmart Charities have helped more than 7.5 million pets find homes.
Survey Shows Pets’ Positive Contribution to Human Health and Happiness
Today, pet parents are relying on their pets more than ever before through the good times and the bad. Among parents, 92 percent of surveyed pet owners said their children frequently turn to their family pet when they are sad, upset or in need of comfort. And children aren’t the only ones relying on their pets. Among those employed, 64 percent of pet parents reported that giving up their pet would be worse than losing their jobs.
What’s more, 93 percent of people surveyed said they had experienced at least one health benefit from pet parenthood. Benefits cited include improved mood and decreased stress to increased physical activity, weight loss and enhanced work-life balance. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people surveyed (94 percent) agreed with the statement that pets are essential for people to maintain good mental and physical health.
“The results of the PetSmart Charities-commissioned survey speak volumes about the human-animal bond and the tremendous value pets bring to our everyday lives,” said Dr. Haworth. “Once they are adopted, not only do they provide unconditional love and support, but pets have also become irreplaceable members of our families and an essential part of our physical and emotional well-being.”
PetSmart Charities has created a quick and easy Survey Companion Guide showcasing strong reasons to adopt, and additional fun facts from the survey like what percentage of Americans would rather talk to their pet than a therapist during a difficult time. To learn more, click here to download the guide.
The PetSmart Charities-commissioned survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 pet parents in the U.S. Respondents were randomly selected and completed the survey online between the dates of March 14-21, 2017.
About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization with a mission to find lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. In addition to finding homes for almost 500,000 shelter pets each year through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities provides funding to non-profits aligned with its mission through four key areas of grant support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets; and Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the pin pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses 90 cents of every dollar donated and has become the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, donating about $300 million to date. PetSmart Charities, a 501(c)(3) organization, has received the Four Star Rating from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 14 years in a row -- placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org
About PetSmart Charities™ of Canada
PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered Canadian charity with a mission to find lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. In addition to finding homes for more than 25,000 shelter pets each year through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart stores, PetSmart Charities of Canada provides funding to registered charities aligned with its mission through four key areas of grant support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets; and Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities of Canada using the pin pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses 89 cents of every dollar donated and has become a leading funder of animal welfare in Canada, donating nearly $12 million to date. PetSmart Charities of Canada is a member of Imagine Canada, and a registered Canadian charity independent from PetSmart, Inc. To learn more, visit www.petsmartcharities.ca.