Although we'd all love to think we're cool as cucumbers when it comes to our pets, for many of us, that's simply not the case.
Cringe every time you drop your pup at daycare? Post more pics of your pet than you do yourself? Shell out enormous amounts of money for cute cat clothes? You might be a pet helicopter parent.
Hey, we're not judging. It makes sense that once you start getting those serotonin boosts every time you’re around them, you just want to be with them all the time and constantly know what they're doing. Just make sure you're not hovering too much, to the point of where it could have a negative impact. After all, you don’t want your pet to be completely anxious and lean into bad behavior when you’re not around.
Here are nine signs that you're a part of the pet helicopter parent community and some potential suggestions for giving yourself a break.
9 signs you're a pet helicopter parent
1. You spend more money on your pet than you do on yourself
If you can’t resist going to the pet shop without picking up a new toy, chances are you might be a helicopter pet parent. Having an arsenal of interactive, pet-appropriate toys is important. It keeps pets stimulated and prevents them from engaging in destructive behavior.
But if your living room is covered in toys, it might not benefit your pet in the long run. Try keeping 10-15 toys on hand and rotating them 5-6 at time to give your pet that "new toy" feeling for years to come.
2. You have a pet stroller
We’ve all made fun of those people in the park pushing their dog in a stroller. That is, until we become them.
Sometimes you want to walk longer than your dog can handle, and in efforts to prevent over-exercising, you plop them in the stroller and let them take in the views. Pushing your pet in a stroller is totally fine, as long as they're getting adequate exercise. Of course, pets with medical issues or injuries that prevent them from walking may not have a choice, and we applaud pet parents for giving them a change of scene and a brisk walk.
3. You bring your dog on every vacation
Vacations aren't just for humans. If you can safely travel with your four-legged friend and find pet-friendly accommodations, why not?
Just remember that pet parents need breaks, too! Give yourself some "me time" every now and then by hiring a pet sitter or having a friend take care of them. That way, you can get the R&R you need and pet parent like a pro when you return.
4. You struggle to leave your pet at home
If you second guess simply going to the grocery store in fear of leaving your pet, this is major pet helicopter parent behavior. Of course, sometimes the pet makes it hard for you to leave them when you can sense that they’re panicking or getting anxious when you’re not there. And in those cases, it's important to make sure they feel safe and secure when you leave them alone.
But with proper training, you should be able to leave your pet at home while you run errands. And hey, we never said a pet camera was off limits so you can can peek at them while you're out...
5. You call your vet when there’s a slight change in behavior
Pet parents are very dialed into their pet's behavior and health—and that's a good thing. But with that said, not every vet can answer questions on demand. That's why Pawp is so loved by pet helicopter parents, because they have a trusted veterinary professional at the ready if they need to confirm that their pet is okay.
Like we always say, there's no such thing as a stupid question.
6. You have more Instagrams of your pet than yourself
Some of us don't love being the star of the show, and if your feed is full of your four-legged friend, we respect it.
Some pet parents don't even have an account of their own and prefer to run their pet's Instagrams instead. Whatever floats your boat—we'll be liking all the puppy pics regardless.
7. You ignore necessary house chores because it startles your dog
If you avoid bringing out the scary-looking mop or making loud noises with cleaning devices just so your pet stays comfortable, we understand. You don't want to purposely upset your dog or cat if they have a tough time with the vacuum.
But, that doesn't mean you have to ignore the dust bunnies riddling your carpet. Try putting your pet in another room with a yummy treat or interactive toy. By the time they're done, you likely will be, too.
8. You never take your eyes off your pup at the dog park
Every dog parent worries that the second you avert your eyes, another pup will try to bully your sweet little angel. Your fears are valid, and it's always important to keep a close watch on your pup in the park.
But you shouldn’t be running over to protect your dog every minute. Learning the difference between when your dog is playing and when they’re truly in danger can help you relax a bit and enjoy the fresh air.
9. You avoid dates or other social gatherings so you can get home to your pet faster
Get dressed and socialize with humans or cuddle up with your pup and watch Netflix? The latter sounds pretty enticing. Let's be honest—the past two years have probably made us all a little more prone to staying home.
With that said, you don't have to sacrifice your entire social life to be a pet parent. It's ideal to strike a balance so that you and your pet can enjoy a little free time away from each other. When you do decide to leave, make sure your pet has a comfortable, safe place to hang out with plenty of toys and access to water. That way, you'll know they're safe and you may be less likely to look at the clock instead of living in the moment.