Do Pets Dominate Homeownership and Housekeeping Decisions?

It’s estimated that 70% of American households share space with at least one pet, the unquestionable majority being dogs and cats. And why not? These furry friends help us lead healthier and happier lives, putting up with our human weirdness with almost no strings attached — simply a bowl of food or a scratch behind the ears, and they won’t remember you just accidentally stepped on their tail or took them to the evil dungeon of doom otherwise known as the vet’s office. Sure…we might believe we call all the shots regarding the lives we lead with our pets, but a recent survey found that we may not wield as much influence as we think. How much do dogs and cats really have us wrapped around their paws? Read on to find out!


Forget Automatic Water Bowls — Say “I Love You” With a Mortgage

In the survey of 1,600 homeowners who also own pets, 68% of respondents who weren’t already living in a pet-friendly home said they have moved for the sole purpose of accommodating their pets. In fact, two-thirds of them indicated they moved from rentership to homeownership specifically to either get a pet, or to keep the one they have happy. Dogs and cats get equal billing here, with roughly the same percentage of dog and cat owners pulling up stakes to be sure their four-footed family members have the amenities they need.

(READ MORE: New Home Anxiety: Helping our Furry Friends Adjust)

When Pets Say They “Just Need Space”

Speaking of amenities, 77% of all respondents who moved to accommodate their animals said their #1 criterion when searching for pet-friendly digs was ample square footage. Ok…so maybe it’s not what we’d normally deem a fancy amenity, but considering that the national median cost per square foot of homes has increased by around $20 in the last decade, it’s certainly a gesture of love to splurge on it!

Close behind the desire for square footage were:

  • having a secure fence (76%),
  • hardwood floors (73%),
  • plenty of yard space (71%),
  • having a mud room (66%), and
  • proximity to parks and play areas (65%).

Home is Where the Bark (or Meow) Is

We’ve heard of potential homebuyers walking away from options because of home price or location or condition… but walking away because of their pets? Apparently it’s more common than you’d think. More than half of survey respondents admitted they’ve dropped plans to purchase a home because it wasn’t a good fit for their furbabies. 

Even more surprising?

One in five who rejected a home for pet-related reasons said they did so within the last year, despite the extreme pandemic-driven sellers market that drastically limited housing inventory and spurred cutthroat competition between buyers in markets across the country. When it comes to Fido or Fifi’s happiness, only the best will do.

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins (But Not the Repair Bills)

Pet owners tolerate a wide variety of pet-related damage to their property, with 45% of respondents reporting that their canine and feline friends have urinated and/or vomited on the carpet. (Dogs and cats are equally culpable in this area.)


Other damage cited includes:

  • chewing on hard furniture (35%),
  • leaving claw marks on doors and walls (31%),
  • ruining upholstered furniture (27%),
  • scratching hardwood floors (26%),
  • ruining window treatments (24%),
  • destroying the yard (20%), and
  • digging up the carpet or linoleum (19%).

Just 15% reported that their little darlings are perfect angels who wouldn’t dream of defiling their humans’ living quarters. (Raise your hand if you think this might be a case of love being blind!)

With all this nefarious behavior comes the expense to match, with more than half of dog and cat owners saying they’ve had to spend money to repair property damage caused by their pets. One in five of this group have actually spent upwards of $1,000 on pet-related damage repair, while 57% have had to file an insurance claim. It’s a good thing our pets are cute, right? 

“Love Your Neighbor as Yourself; But Don’t Take Down the Fence!”

For as much as we love — and apparently bend over backwards for — our pets, they don’t always make for the greatest of neighbors. The most common neighborly issue, with 27% of respondents citing so, was noise complaints, followed by 22% who complained of aggressive pet-to-pet behavior. Nineteen percent indicated issues with neighborhood pets causing property damage and/or injury to each other.


While we can’t prevent neighborly issues from happening, we can offer helpful advice to reduce their likelihood of occurring. Check out these tips on how to be a good neighbor, so both you and your pets can enjoy the benefits of a strong and supportive community.

Find a Dream Home for Your Pets the Simply Smarter Way

From house buying to housekeeping, there’s no denying our pets call the shots much more than we give them credit for! If you’re looking for the best home possible for your four-legged companions, you can find it with a quick, simple search on With millions of up-to-date listings, advice on how to buy and finance, and much more, it’s your one-stop resource to get you and your furry family into the best home for you. Happy house hunting!

Audrey is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at, with a master’s degree in strategic communication. Wife to aerospace engineer Ryan and fur-mom to rescue pup Lucy, she’s the self-declared World’s Greatest Pizza Lover who lives for chocolate and a sunshine-filled day at the beach.

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