Man’s Best Friend or Fur Baby? New Wag! Survey De-tails the State of Pet Parenting in 2023

January 31, 2023

Findings show that among Gen Z, dogs are moving further into the ‘best friend’ category

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 31, 2023-- At the dawn of a new year, Wag!, (Wag! Group Co., Nasdaq: PET), which strives to be the number one platform for busy pet parents, offering on-demand access to five-star pet care, pet insurance options, and expert pet advice, surveyed pet parents nationwide to understand how Americans approach pet parenting in 2023. Sampling 1,000 dog parents from ages 18-65, spanning Gen Z to Baby Boomers, Wag! found notable generational differences, as well as unexpected common ground.

Today’s pets are increasingly living the high life, more akin to humans themselves than the four-legged animals of yesteryear. From organic diets to premium grooming, pet parents - Gen Z in particular - are matching their furry companion’s quality of life with that of their own. The “humanization” of pets is clear, but takes on a different meaning depending on who you ask.

Wag! found that while Baby Boomers largely view their pets as their children (49%), Gen Z actually think of them more as a best friend (34%). Boomers maintain a traditional view of a pet’s place in the home, sticking to a philosophy that centers around affordability and discipline. Even so, 71% of Baby Boomers allow the irresistible concession to let pets sleep in their bed. Meanwhile, Gen Z is less rigid, with 36% of respondents describing their training approach as “flexible.” This generational shift also sees younger pet parents bringing their pets to more public places like restaurants, dressing them up, and broadly spending more on items such as food and fashion.

When it comes to food and nutrition, though, all generations (Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) agree to put their wallets where their pets are, spending an average of $50 to $100 monthly. However, younger pet parents overall are less budget-conscious, willing to spend premiums in areas like grooming materials and services, fashion and accessories, and pet insurance. While older generations see their pets as children, Gen X and Baby Boomers spend less on their pets than Gen Z on a monthly basis, despite Gen Z typically making less money.

Some other key highlights include:

All You Need Is LOVE

  • Dating Dealbreaker: 33% would never date, and 35% would never marry, someone who does not like pets
  • Pucker Up: 30% of pet parents allow their pets to kiss them on the mouth


  • Health is Wealth: 15% more Gen Zers use pet insurance than Baby Boomers, while 23% more Baby Boomers report regularly scheduled vet visits compared to Gen Z
  • Let the Good Times Roll: 58% of pet parents say car rides are their favorite activity to do with their pet outside of the home

Eating Habits

  • Bye-Bye Kibble: 53% of pet parents say their pet has at least one dietary restriction, such as gluten-free or vegetarian diets
  • What’s Mine Is Yours: 31% feed their pets human food “often” or “all the time” and 21% allow their pets to eat off their plate


  • Furry Fashionistas: 55% of survey respondents dress their pet in clothing or accessories and 73% of Gen Z will spend extra for pet fashion and accessories (at least for special occasions)
  • Long Hair, Don’t Care: 73% of Gen Z survey respondents say they will spend extra for premium pet grooming services and materials

These shifting trends tell us that when it comes to human’s best friend, pet parents will do whatever they can to provide the absolute best possible lifestyle for their fur babies.

Survey Methodology Summary

This sample of 1,000 U.S. adults (aged 18 to 65) was surveyed on January 6 and 7, 2023. All respondents are self-confirmed primary pet parents of at least one dog. DKC Analytics conducted and analyzed this survey with a sample procured using the Pollfish survey delivery platform, which delivers online surveys globally through mobile app and the mobile web along with the desktop web. Sampling weighted gender and age (by generation) to reflect the U.S. adult 18-65 population. No additional post-stratification has been applied to the sample, which has a margin of error of 3.1%.

About Wag! Group Co.

Wag! strives to be the #1 platform for busy pet parents by offering access to 5-star dog walking, sitting, and one-on-one training from Wag!'s community of 400,000 pet caregivers nationwide. In addition, Wag! operates, the nation's largest pet insurance comparison marketplace,, a concierge prescription and compounding service, and, one of the most visited and trusted pet food marketplaces. For more information, visit

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