woman running with dog

Given how much parents prioritize their children’s well-being over their own, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the same goes for pet parents. In fact, in a recent poll, nearly seven in 10 Americans (67%) admitted that they take better care of their pet than themselves.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Stella and Chewy’s, asked 2,000 American pet owners about their relationship with their four-legged friends. 

Luckily, the report revealed that the owner-pet relationship seems to be reciprocal, with that eight in 10 respondents stating that caring for their pet actively encourages them to take better care of themselves.

Some of the biggest benefits pets provide to owners include:

• Reducing stress, depression and/or anxiety (72%)

• Encouraging exercise via walks and playtime with pets (62%)

• Helping owners be more conscientious about their food choices (44%)

In return, most owners (94%) said they make a concerted effort to show appreciation for their pets on a regular basis. Approximately one-quarter (26%) of respondents do so by celebrating them on pet-themed holidays, like Pet Appreciation Week or National Dog Day.

Another popular way pet parents show their love is with food. Over half (56%) said they always keep their pet’s favorite treats on hand, and 73% try to buy natural pet food whenever possible. Other common demonstrations of pet appreciation include:

• Playing with pets every day (62%)

• Feeding pets food when they are excited (57%)

• Letting the pet sleep in bed with them (48%)

“The results of this survey further emphasize what we already know to be true: our pets are our family,” said Stella & Chewy’s CEO Marc Hill. “The bond we share with them is strong, and our pets provide us with so much joy and emotional support on a daily basis. It is imperative that we reciprocate that love by showing them how much they mean to us, too.”

See the full results of the survey here.