This study used an online survey distributed between January and March 2019 to adults residing in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) to investigate cat and dog owner practices. Of the 2385 respondents, 885 (37%) owned both cat/s and dog/s, while 652 (28%) and 609 (26%) owned cat/s only or dog/s only, respectively. Nine percent of respondents (n = 212) did not own a cat or dog when the survey was administered. Gaps were identified in the practices of NZ pet owners with regard to regular grooming, immunizations, and deworming treatments. It was also found that many pets, especially cats, were allowed to wander freely both inside and outside the house. Collectively, these gaps in practice raise parasitology and infection concerns which may impact negatively on animal welfare and may increase the prevalence of zoonotic diseases. This study also revealed the need to improve desexing practices, particularly in dogs. Respondents in the survey expressed the wish to have pets regardless of the financial strain they may impose, indicating that future research should focus on reducing the financial burden of pet ownership along with promoting positive pet ownership practices. Our findings suggest the need for better education resources about pet ownership which are easily accessible and target diverse populations. The findings of this study will aid in developing appropriate educational resources to promote animal welfare and increase pet-related knowledge among the NZ populace.
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