Survey unveils new insights on saying goodbye to pets


The findings reveal how common it is for pet parents to say goodbye to pets, the benefits of having a companion animal during the pandemic, plus more.

Rasulov /

Rasulov /

A Nationwide survey1 demonstrated that saying goodbye to pets is typically part of a pet parent's routine. However, this may actually provoke more stress for pets suffering from separation anxiety.

"If a pet is suffering from separation anxiety, performing a specific, ritual 'goodbye' behavior with them can trigger or heighten their fearful behavior," said Jules Benson, BVSc, BSc, Nationwide Chief Veterinary Officer.1

"The best course is to consult your veterinarian about ways you to treat a pet's separation anxiety, which will likely include behavior modification training focused on when pet parents leave the house."

Additional key findings from the survey are highlighted below.

Many ways to say goodbye

The research revealed that 87% of pet owners say a version of goodbye to their companion animals when they head out. Gen Z pet parents were found to be more likely to say goodbye than other age groups (94%).1

Here are the range of ways pet owners display their goodbyes:

  • Pet them (65%)
  • Kiss them goodbye (approximately 40%)
  • Simply say goodbye (42%)
  • Play with them before leaving (33%)
  • Offer them treats (30%)

Separation anxiety (pet parents have it too)

Separation anxiety can exist for both pets and their parents. Pet owners felt they would be more anxious about being away from their pet than their pet would be when apart from them. The survey discovered that while 33% of pet owners believe their pets suffer from separation anxiety, 4 in 10 believe they will suffer anxiety when away from their pets.1

Additionally, pet parents reported feeling guilty when they leave their pets alone. Approximately 12% have invested in a web camera to watch them while they are out of the house, including about 1 in 4 millennials surveyed.1

Pandemic and pets

Having a companion animal by their side throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant effects on pet parents.

Individuals surveyed documented that having a pet during the pandemic:

  • Offered them a strong sense of companionship (54%)
  • Eased their anxiety (32%)
  • Raised awareness of their pet's health (25%)
  • Provided them a sense of hope (25%)


  1. Is your goodbye pooch smooch stressing your pet out? Nationwide. February 24, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022.
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