As we spend more time on our phones and devices with screens, pets are talking action to claw back the attention of their owners.
89% of owners say their pet has tried to get their attention while they're using a device, according to Bought By Many's survey of 1,000 cat and dog owners.
Cat and dog owners revealed the most common ways pets try to compete with our devices:
- 53% scratch or paw at the device
- 48% make noise such as barking or meowing
- 36% say their pet has gone as far as sitting on the device.
And 36% of owners believe a pet has broken something just to get their attention.
Pet health issues caused by a lack of attention
With streaming services, social media, more people working from home and screens all around us, it's no surprise we're dedicating so much time to our devices.
But it's important owners make sure they reserve time to give pets the stimulation they need.
Dogs can develop anxiety and behavioural problems if they don't have enough time socialising with humans and other dogs. These can be problematic on their own but they can also contribute to physical conditions.
And a lack of exercise can cause obesity in cats a dogs, which again can lead to other health issues.
The balance between pets and screens
Although screen use is now a part of everyday life it's important we give pets the attention they need.
And if you're thinking of getting your first pet you'll need to do your research into how much time you'll need to set aside for training, exercise and play.
Dogs need at least two walks a day and they'll want to play when they're at home.
Cats can be more independent but still need stimulation, especially if it's an indoor cat.
Veterinary surgeon Neerja Muncaster says: "If you’re worried about not giving a pet enough attention, you can use these tips to try and make sure you find a balance between screen use and interaction with our pets:
- Make sure you’re listening to and responding to signs from your pets, acknowledging their communication.
- If you really can’t look away from a screen, you can still interact with your pet - stroking them or playing with them.
- Routine will help pets understand when and how to socialise with you - if you have a regular walking time
- Get out and about - walking your dog and encouraging them to socialise with other pet owners."
Some pets enjoy screens too
With owners spending more time in front of screens it seems that pets are taking the opportunity to spend this time with them or it may be that that enjoy watching TV too.
Our survey found 22% of owners say their pets watch more than hour of TV a day and they give an insight into pets' favourite TV shows:
- Nature documentaries (45%)
- Comedy (24%)
- Drama (20%)
- Sports (18%)
We know the vast majority of owners give their pets the attention they deserve but as we turn to screens more and more frequently it's important we think about our own device usage and make sure we listen to our pets when they say it's time to put down the phone.
Learn more about pet cover with our article on the best pet insurance for dogs.