Just saying whether you prefer dogs or cats may no longer be enough to gauge whether you are romantically compatible with someone according to the PETstock Pet Parent Report 2022.
This new report provides some very interesting insights into how our pets have infiltrated our lives as well as the kitchen, bedroom and even how we date.
Dating with pets
And while the report may implicitly suggest that match makers need a longer list of pet-related screening questions, 56 per cent of cat owners surveyed said they would explicitly choose someone else who had a dog or a cat on a dating app.
The ﬁndings also reveal that 65 per cent of pet owners let their pet sleep on or in the bed with them. For others this is no doubt a deal breaker, but I love the fact that by letting Darcy sleep at the end of my bed I am in the majority and not the minority of pet owners. (He is tiny though and curls up inside his sleeping bag without moving all night, so I sometimes forget he is even there. Not sure how I’d go with a German Shepherd wanting to do the same thing!).
When it comes to dating and pets the report suggests that pet parents may also prefer to date a potential partner who also loves animals because they perceive them as a better match in terms of values and lifestyle. Let’s face it, we’ve all been a bit suss on that person who says they don’t like dogs. Well, I know I have been!
There’s also plenty of research that has shown that dogs can sense our emotions by reading our facial expressions, which is probably why the findings showed that some pet owners will look to their pet’s reaction to figure out whether the person they have met is nice (or not) and could make for a good (or bad) potential partner.
Pets vs children vs partners
Some of the other stats that made me giggle was in relation to where people lived and their attitudes to different lifestyles and life situations. Let’s take Brisbane for example where those surveyed there were the most likely to prefer pets over children (57 per cent) and Sydneysiders were the least likely to have this attitude (39 per cent), but only if they did not already have kids (with the national ﬁgure being 51 per cent).
Brisbane also led the nation with people who would rather sleep next to their pet than their partner (42 per cent), whereas only 35 per cent of pet owners in Perth felt this way. Looks like I might have to move to Brisbane!
Men vs women attitudes
The way pets are perceived can be a critical difference between the sexes too, with more men (15 per cent) believing that their dog had “done something heroic like saved another animal or someone’s life” compared to 8 per cent for women, and women feeling safer in the house alone, when they had a pet with them (84 per cent compared to 59 per cent of men).
Women are slightly more likely than men to take their cat out for a walk on a leash (with 1 in 5) owners stating they do. Whereas, 15 per cent of women were embarrassed by their dog’s behaviour at a dog park or similar, and only 9 per cent of men felt the same, and in general men were more conﬁdent to let their dogs off the leash in public places.
Female pet owners were far more likely to support animal charities and prefer pet charities over human charities and are more likely to include their pet in their will and also outspent men on their pets. No surprises there.
Similarly, more cat owners donate to animal charities and prefer pet charities over human charities. And it seems it is true that cats are more popular with women, and in metropolitan areas, and that they are perceived to rule the house.
More than half of cat owners have more than one cat – although people over 45 are more likely to only have one feline in the house.
Almost half (47 per cent) of dog owners say they cook for their dog (almost double the 26 per cent of cat owners who do this) and are more likely than cat owners to give supplements, feed scraps and feed their pet at the same time as they eat, the PETstock Pet Parent Report 2022 found.
If you are one of those that does cook for your pets, it is vital that you are ensuring their meal is actually complete and balanced so they are getting all of the essential nutrients they need for good health. I write a lot about this and provide some how to in my book ‘Eat, Play, Love (your dog)’ and you can also learn a bit more about what is needed as a minimum when cooking for your dog (minus the bones bit if cooking – they must only be raw!) HERE.
The main thing I realised after reading the results of the report… I am not such a crazy dog lady after all. It seems that more people think like me than I thought when it comes to our pets being an integral part of our lives. And I think that is pawsome!
Source: PETstock Pet Parent Report 2022.
Total sample size was 1583. The ﬁgures are representative of Australian pet owners aged 18+ nationally.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love (Your Dog).