Survey Says Couples Choosing Dogs, Not Kids

A survey of British couples reveals many are choosing pets amid economic turmoil.

Posted: December 2, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

Couples in Britain are making plans to start a family by taking a new cat or dog into their homes, not a baby, according to a new survey. The preference for a pet instead of a child indicates a desire to save money during a tough economic climate, said the company behind the survey.

Petplan, a U.K.-based pet insurance provider, conducted the survey, which found that nearly 60 percent of people said they would put off starting a family during the current economic downturn. However, 25 percent would invest in a pet instead.

The decision to put family life on hold in favor of looking after a four-legged friend was equally divided between men and women.

The 10 most popular child "substitutes,” according to the survey are:

  1. Dog
  2. Cat
  3. Rabbit
  4. Guinea Pig
  5. Rat
  6. Hamster
  7. Mouse
  8. Gerbil
  9. Reptile
  10. Bird

A total of 3,000 pet owners responded to the survey. “It seems that pets of all shapes and sizes are now being considered a perfectly sensible alternative to starting a family for cash-strapped couples,” a Petplan spokesperson said in a statement. “We know that many owners develop very strong emotional ties to their pets that are often treated as part of the family. But we do urge all would-be pet owners to understand that pet ownership does come with responsibilities, just like parenthood.”


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Galadriel   Lothlorien, ME

12/2/2008 7:21:48 PM

Well, I guess you don't have to put them through college.

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bertha   SAN DIEGO, CA

12/2/2008 5:31:41 PM

Good for them!! my daughter just got married and she adopted a dog, a cat, and a bunny!!

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Amanda   NY, NY

12/2/2008 5:28:15 PM

That's weird but interesting! I think that this is great for all of the animals out there. Hopefully people get them from shelters! That's how I got my Otis!

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Christine   Burnaby, BC

12/2/2008 5:03:39 PM

That is wonderful, but those people should adopt from animal shelters instead of pet stores because the animals in the shelters need a home more than the ones in pet stores do. It's nice to know that people are considering bringing home those pets and classifying them as part of their family.

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