Nationwide Survey Reveals Dogs are More than ‘Man’s Best Friend’

More than ever, dogs are considered family members.

Businesses and communities have big opportunity to increase dog-friendly services and products – especially in travel and tourism.


Nationwide survey, sponsored by SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, finds that dogs are considered a part of the family now more than ever (Graphic: Business Wire)

BEDFORD, N.H.--()--Dogs are considered a part of the family now more than ever, signaling not just a trend, but an ingrained lifestyle here to stay, according to the findings of a nationwide survey of dog owners announced today. The research, sponsored by SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, the first and only dog containment and tracking system that lets users take their dog and virtual smart fence wherever they go, also shows there are increasing opportunities for businesses and communities to meet the needs of the growing population of dog owners.

Almost all dog owners consider dogs family members
The SpotOn survey found that 98 percent of dog owners consider their dogs to be members of the family. What does it mean to be a member of the family? For starters, 50 percent of dog owners say their dog sleeps in a family member’s bed and an additional 32 percent have their dogs sleep in a family member’s bedroom. Dog owners in the Northeast are most likely to have their dogs sleep in a family member’s bed, with 60 percent of Northeast dog owners saying they snuggle their pooch at night, compared to 49 percent of respondents from other regions. Also worth noting, a separate study by noted 79 percent of pet-owning homebuyers who closed on a property in 2018 said they would pass up an otherwise perfect home if it didn’t meet the needs of their pets.

As dogs are considered members of the family, owners are also taking the form of ‘helicopter parents’ – often worrying about their dog’s safety and going out of their way to keep tabs.

  • 82 percent of dog owners worried about their dog’s safety when out of sight and 56 percent say they expect caregiver texts, photos and/or emails about their dog when they are away from home.
  • 71 percent of dog owners said they are generally nervous about their dog’s safety, and the biggest concerns stem from nearby cars and traffic, the potential for another dog to hurt their dog and their dog running away or getting off leash.
  • 60 percent of dog owners are not comfortable letting their dog off leash in unfenced areas. That’s probably wise, considering only 39 percent their dog always comes when called, and only 19 percent consider their dog excellently trained. Of note, among major metropolitan areas, New Yorkers are most confident, with 63 percent of New York dog owners rating their dogs training as good or excellent, followed by Chicagoans at 62 percent and Philadelphians at 58 percent.
  • Dog owners in the South are the least nervous about their dogs getting off leash, with only 27 percent worried about the possibility. However, dog owners in the Northeast tend to be significantly more concerned with cars and traffic, with 39 percent of dog owners in the region worried about their dogs getting off leash vs. 29 percent in other regions.

Dogs on the go
Dog owners enjoy being with their furry family members, and indicated that parks, beaches, hiking and camping are favorite “on-the-go” activities. While almost all dog owners enjoy walking, 48 percent rely on parks and recreation for outdoor activities with their dog. When it comes overall dog friendliness, the New York metropolitan area has a leg up on the rest of the nation, with 71 percent of dog owners noting they have access to amenities such as dog parks, outdoor areas and dog-friendly stores and eateries. The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area, Washington D.C. and Houston round out the top dog friendly metro areas.

While 86 percent of dog owners feel welcomed at the homes of friends and family with their pets, unfortunately, 37 percent said it is too inconvenient to travel with their dogs and have skipped a trip because of the difficulty. In fact, 59 percent of dog owners said they’ve never stayed overnight in a hotel with their dog and only 13 percent always travel with their dogs for overnight stays.

These responses indicate a major opportunity for hotels, airlines and others in the travel and pet industries to bring products and services to market that alleviate some of the complications of traveling with pets. Hotels and airlines could take cues from Holiday Inn, Hilton Hotels, Best Western, Marriott, Delta, Jet Blue and American Airlines, identified by dog owners as the best hotels and airlines for traveling with your dog.

As 38 percent of all households nationwide own one or more dogs, the highest estimated rate of dog ownership since the American Veterinary Medical Association began measuring nearly four decades ago—and dogs being increasingly important to their owners, businesses and communities have an opportunity to provide products and services that make it more convenient and welcoming for dog owners to include their four-legged family members in their activities, especially since in 2018, $72.5 billion was spent on pets in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association.

This survey was conducted by ResearchScape International from April 4 to April 10, 2019. The findings include responses from more than 1,500 respondents nationwide.

About SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence
SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence is the first and only dog containment and tracking system that lets users take their dog and fence wherever they go. Unlike traditional electric fences, SpotOn’s patented GPS-based technology lets users program containment areas simply by walking a perimeter—at home, at the beach, camping or anywhere in between. The entire system is a collar and a phone app that connects to three global navigation satellite services and multiple cellular networks. To learn more about the SpotOn technology and product, visit:, our blog, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

About OnPoint Systems, LLC
Established in 2015 by the founders of Insight Technology, OnPoint Systems, LLC is fueled by decades of experience developing high-quality electronic devices for military and law enforcement professionals. It is with their commitment to no-nonsense performance that they now bring their newest product to the consumer marketplace: SpotOn Virtual Fence System—a dog containment and tracking device that sets a new paradigm for the pet industry.


Megan Nealon
Version 2.0 Communications for SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence

Release Summary

Survey, sponsored by SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, reveals dogs are more than 'man's best friend' & opportunity for businesses to be more dog-friendly

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Megan Nealon
Version 2.0 Communications for SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence