It’s Me or the Dog: People Would Rather Dump Their Partners Than Ditch Their Pets

An image of pets in australia to illustrate animal rights

Pets are family too, but apparently we love our furry friends more than our own. New research from ING shows one in three Australians love their pets more than family, while another 34% consider their pet their own child.

The data, collected from more than 1000 people, looked into the effects our pets have had on our lives — specifically, how our dogs and cats have positively impacted our wellbeing.

According to the findings, 34% said their mental health was improved after owning a pet, 54% said their pet has a calming effect on them, and 21% believed their dogs and cats made them more motivated.

Of course, all of that combined feels so significant that pet owners would not be willing to give it up, even it meant losing a love connection. The research found one in four pet owners would end a relationship if their partner didn’t like their pet. Seems fair.

Not just our romantic lives, but pets also impact our social lives too, not always for the best. While pets do make us feel less lonely (47% of people) and more supported in life (22%), a third of us would rather stay at home with our pets than go out with friends.

“It’s clear from the research that our furry friends help us with our overall wellbeing and
happiness, encouraging us to feel less stressed with life and helping us to focus on the things that matter most,” said Dina Kotsopoulos, Head of Wealth at ING.

While Australians on average are spending a full working day of eight hours each week looking after their pets (walking, petting, feeding, grooming), the research found only 18% of pet owners had pet insurance. A wild statistic considering we love them more than family, apparently.


In separate research, pets were found to increase our chances of finding love on dating apps. Users who mention dogs in their bios or put pictures with dogs in their profile photos have a higher chance of matching with someone.

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