The Wanderer.

My Dog is My Child. The Truth About Millennial Dog Owners

April 10, 2018

It’s official. Millennials are different. Yes I know you knew this already. Millennials are marrying later, having kids later, less likely to be home or car owners. Basically Millennials are living the anti-American Dream with one surprising difference - pet ownership.

While Millennials (Americans aged between 22 - 37) are half as likely to own a home, own a car or have children than half a century ago, they’re leading the way in pet ownership trends, with 75% of 30 somethings owning a dog and 51% owning a cat. Contrast that with the overall population with 50% dog ownership and 35% cat ownership. It’s clear something big has changed for Americans under the age of 37.

Recent research from Mintel showed that driving this dramatic change in pet ownership are the things that we all know about Millennials - lower home ownership levels, starting families older than previous generations. This has resulted in younger Americans viewing their pet as one of their children. Similar to how their parents prepared for the arrival of their first child by reading parenting books, researching what to expect, Millennials are doing the same thing, except they’re preparing for pet parenting.

Yes, Millennials do speak dog. And want to use that understanding to become even closer to their best friends. These younger dog owners are active and tech savvy individuals who are highly involved with their dogs. They take great pride in the strength of their relationship with their pets and actively seek out adventures and experiences where they share with them outside of the home. These owners feel a tremendous responsibility to keep their dogs safe and healthy.

For Millennials, their dog is more than a pet, they don’t mind spending a lot of money on their dog, making sure they have everything they need to make their dog’s lives easier. It’s also important their dogs look good resulting in ever increasing amounts being spent on grooming, dog fashion and even considering their pup when designing the interior of their homes. In 2016 the amount of money spent on pampering pets passed a whopping $11 billion. They want to share experiences with their dogs, take them on adventures - stuff their parents wanted to share with them when they were growing up.

Recently Link surveyed 2,000 dog owners to better understand the emotional connection between dogs and humans. What we found matches what a lot of other pet ownership studies have shown; humans see their dogs as integral parts of their lives and in a lot of cases are treated like their children. Our survey showed that 88% of respondents said their dog made them a better person, 78% of dog owners said they make life decisions based on their pet. More than half say they sometimes skip social occasions to hang out with their dog, and 75% reported they did not like to be away from their little buddy at all. 

So now you know the truth about Millennials, they love dogs as much as they love their children (when they get around to having them that is). That means Millennials can’t be all bad right?