Like you’d date someone without your pet’s permission anyway.

By Austin Cannon
October 06, 2020
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Credit: Westend61 / Getty

This time of year, most of the viral surveys you’ll see have to do with who’s leading the presidential race. But there’s another time-honored, Sophie’s Choice-esque question that bubbles up from time to time: your sweetheart or the dog? 

One of the latest variations is pandemic related: Who would you choose to stay home with during another COVID-19 lockdown, your pet or your significant other? More than 40 percent of the women who responded picked their pet. Perhaps they feel the same way one happily married Daily Paws staffer does: “There are some days when I would rather have a sweet dog that doesn't argue or ask me to do his laundry.”

A June survey showed that one in three British pet owners would choose their dog over their partner if they were forced to pick. 

So, would you, Dear Reader, break up with your spouse or partner for your pet? We’re guessing no—but not because you don’t love your pet. We would never say that!

If You Love Pets, Your Partner Likely Does, Too

Could any of us dedicated to loving our pets—and reading, writing, and editing a website dedicated to that practice—comprehend committing to someone who … doesn’t? 

Not likely! In fact, some surveys show that most of us wouldn’t even let ourselves get to the point of choosing between our pets and partners. 

According to this 2018 study, 86 percent of dog owners surveyed said they would break things off with their potential mate if that person didn’t like their dog. More recently, this August survey shows 63 percent of pet owners would end things if their significant other didn’t like their pet.  

A survey of the Daily Paws staff seemed to indicate similar tendencies. “I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs” was one response. One editor said she wouldn’t date anyone who doesn’t like her Pomeranian. Another said she told her husband during their courtship that she wouldn’t marry him if he wasn’t up for owning dogs and cats. 

“I wouldn't even consider dating someone who was allergic to animals or wasn't a dog/cat person,” another editor says. 

Me too!

Surrendering a Pet Is Hard

While the partner-or-pet quandary might seem like a fun would-you-rather scenario to potentially lord over your partner, the process of actually giving up a pet (or breaking up with your partner!) flat-out stinks. 

For example, someone might make the very difficult decision to rehome their cats if their partner is severely allergic to them. That process will probably take awhile and include a heartbreaking goodbye as you take your babies to their new home. 

So, while it might be a fun reason to text your partner “LOL I choose the dog,” it’s also worth remembering that some people unfortunately have to make this hard choice of saying goodbye to their beloved pet. 

So our Daily Paws advice is this: Screen potential mates for pet allergies. And date someone who loves pets just as much as you do.