Between giving our pets Santa outfits, wrapped gifts, home-cooked meals, and stockings full of treats, it’s safe to say that the holidays are for spoiling our pets. To get a better idea, we took a survey asking American pet parents how obsessive and/or “extra” they get with their pets during this special season. Are we guilty of getting pets more gifts than human family members? How many gifts wrapped under the tree are specifically for our fur babies? No matter what holiday you celebrate, we’re about to find out!

Methodology

We surveyed 1,036 American pet parents of all ages across 50 states, asking them to rate how “extra” they are with their pets during the holidays, along with how much they spend on their pets, what activities they do with their pets, and more.

How Many Gifts Do You Purchase for Your Pet During the Holiday?

Starting off our survey to see just how extra people are with their pets over the holidays, we looked at one of the hallmarks of the winter season — gift-giving. From cute squeaky toys to reward-based toys that dispense treats, people love spoiling their pets and giving them something fun to play with and enjoy. (And let’s not forget about all of those adorable pet sweaters and costumes people put on them, too!)

pet gift giving

So how many gifts do people purchase for their pets during the holidays? Well, our survey would say that most pet parents pick two gifts for their furry family members with 31.56% of survey respondents checking two gifts off the list. Following close behind, 23.46% of Americans say they get their pets only one gift (we’ll assume it’s something extra special), and 20.37% purchase three presents for their animals.

Some furry friends get all of the love from their owners, with 9.07% of respondents getting five or more gifts for their pets for the holidays. Amazing! Sadly, a similar percentage of Americans, 6.95%, admit to getting no gifts at all for their pets.

And as for the amount spent on average on these gifts and other holiday treats for pets? An overwhelming majority (70.85%) of Americans spend between $1 and $50. Also noteworthy — 17.66% of respondents shell out between $51 and $100, making for wagging tails and plenty of purrs nationwide.

Pet Parent Habits During the Holidays

Taking a deeper dive, for the next part of our survey we looked at pet parent habits during the holiday season. The most common habit is clearly gift giving — 70% of Americans purchase two or more gifts for their furry friends.

An illustration showing the type of gifts most often gifted to pets by their pet owners

Other popular gestures include owners having a stocking for their pets (60%) and people saying they would rather spend the holidays with their pets than their in-laws (58%). Generational distinctions also pop up in the data — 22% of millennials purchase matching outfits for themselves and for their pets (talk about adorable), and 12% of baby boomers buy more gifts for their pets than for their family members!

The Most “Extra” Activities Americans Do With Their Pets During the Holidays

An illustration in the form of a Santa list that includes the most “extra” activity pet parents do for their pets during the holiday season

We used a fill-in-the-blank survey for the last part of our study to determine just how “extra” people really are with their pets during the holidays. Unsurprisingly, the results are super festive and show off Americans’ knack for creativity.

For example, a few survey respondents out there enjoy putting a yarmulke on their pet and having them sit at the table while the family lights the Hanukkah candles. Others like to bake a dog-friendly dinner and cart their pup around the neighborhood in a light-up wagon. Could they make a stop in our neighborhood, please? 

Some people even reported throwing a dog holiday party complete with a Secret Santa, treats, and a professional photographer. Whichever holiday you celebrate, and whether you have lots of pets to spoil or just one, it’s clear that our furry friends help make this one of the most wonderful times of the year.

Final Thoughts

Dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, rabbits, parrots, you name it, people love their pets in all of their diverse and adorable glory. We had a lot of fun doing this survey because, besides getting a deeper insight into pet parent habits during the holidays, we also got some great ideas for new ways to make our own animals feel special. They may not be so thrilled to stroll around in light-up sweaters, but we know they’ll love the homemade treats and extra bits of attention that come with celebrating the holidays.

If you’re a new or longtime pet parent, you know a healthy pet is a happy pet. You’ll always find 5-star veterinary service with One Vet, a subscription-based, virtual vet clinic, where licensed veterinarians are available 24/7 to meet all of your pet’s needs. Get started today!