Move over Cindy Crawford -- Fido has more clout - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Move over Cindy Crawford -- Fido has more clout

National Pet Owner Survey Finds People Prefer Pet Companionship Over Human

You're stranded on a deserted island. Which would you rather have(human or animal companionship? Maybe Cindy Crawford? Perhaps Brad Pitt? Or your dog, Spot? The survey says: Spot.

According to a recent national survey, given the choice of human or animal companionship, more than half of the pet owners surveyed want a family pet instead of another person with them if deserted on an island.

A survey of 1,019 pet owners, conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), reveals that pets play a stronger role in Americans' lives for companionship and affection than many realize.

In an effort to learn more about relationships between humans and their pets, AAHA asked pet owners about day-to-day interaction with their pets in the fifth annual national pet owner survey.

The results provide insight on how people are humanizing their relationships with their pets. Of the survey respondents:

57 percent of pet owners surveyed would want a pet as their only companion if deserted on an island.

80 percent of survey respondents selected companionship as the major reason for having a pet.

72 percent of pet owners say that affection is their pets' most endearing trait.

79 percent of surveyed pet owners give their pets holiday or birthday presents.

33 percent of pet owners talk to their pets on the phone or through the answering machine.

21 percent of dog owners sometimes dress their pets.

62 percent of respondents often sign letters or cards from them and their pets.

55 percent of pet owners consider themselves as mom or dad to their pets.

"When people find strong companionship and affection in their pets, it is not unusual for them to begin treating their animals as important family members," said Dr. Merry Crimi, AAHA president-elect. "Pets become as endearing as a child or a close friend to many pet owners."

The survey was conducted by AAHA through its membership from across the country. Respondents were pet owners who take their pets to AAHA veterinarians. Pet owners from 39 states, provinces in Canada and the District of Columbia responded.

The American Animal Hospital Association is an international organization of more than 12,000 veterinarians who treat companion animals. AAHA reminds pet owners that they can help pets live healthier and longer by taking their pets to the veterinarian for periodic physical exams, vaccinations, and dental care, as well as providing pets with fresh water, a balanced diet and exercise. Established in 1933, the association is well known among veterinarians for its high standards for hospitals and pet health care.

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by: American Animal Hospital Association

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