Having a pet and not a partner is not just for cat owners anymore. A shocking number of millennials have chosen pets over starting a family and settling down. A recent survey found that 71 percent of males between the ages of 18-34 and 62 percent of females in the same age range had a dog, but did not have a significant other.
Why are people choosing pets over love?
A dog is there for you after a long day at work. They give you a sense of safety and comfort. When you get past the age where you are comfortable having roommates, they give you something to come home to besides an empty house. Also, a house with a dog in it feels safer, and more full. Dogs will watch all of your favorite shows with you, get you out of the house when you are down, give you purpose and even sleep in bed with you. Sound good? Right! Who needs a partner when you have the unconditional love of a pet?
Love to travel? Like to hike or paddleboard? Now, instead of trying to find a partner that happens to love all of the same activities you do, you can choose a dog breed that shares your love for the outdoors, or for water, or sports. Fed up with dating sites and with a stronger focus on career, we still want to have companionship and shared interests, but we may be choosing dogs over people.
Cheaper than a partner
Even though people spent over $10 billion on ‘pampering’ for their pets last year, having a dog is still cheaper than having a romantic partner. After all, there are no dates, no birthday present expectations (although dog birthday parties are quite the rage now – don’t forget to invite the dog’s best friends!). And don’t forget the emotional expense that goes into having a romantic relationship – in today’s world, this can seem so hard that a relationship with a fur friend just might be sufficient.
The Fur Baby Phenomenon
Pet owners are now approaching pet ownership the way people used to approach having a baby – preparing the home, reading books, and setting up daycare. If relationships with other adults seem hard, then becoming a mother or father to another human is even harder. While in the past, there was a stigma associated with not wanting to or not becoming a parent, today, people can claim their pets as ‘fur children’ and alleviate a lot of the belief that they are hard to get close to or not responsible or lovable, which are traits that were associated with childless parents or singles in the past.
Will this trend continue, or will millennials change their minds on partnership and parenting? Well, this is not likely to change anytime soon with the struggles this age group faces with home ownership out of reach, a stronger focus on career, and the general delaying of marriage and family to the late 30’s and beyond that is so common now. The great news is that so many pets are getting wonderful homes and are being pampered like never before!