Getting a Puppy Is a Bigger Commitment Than Marriage, Brits Say · The Wildest

Skip to main content

Getting a Puppy Is a Bigger Commitment Than Marriage, Brits Say

So-called ‘milestones’ are shifting these days. Is getting a dog the new getting hitched?

by Jess Commons
21 March 2024
Two men look lovingly into each others' eyes while cradling a white dog
Mal de Ojo Studio / Stocksy

We all know the traditional milestones of adulting have been in flux for quite a while. After all, who is getting married, buying a house and having kids by the ripe old age of 30 in this economy? Do you even want kids? Added to which, an average wedding spend of £20k seems an awful lot of money when house deposits are so much more than your yearly salary.

So what are the new adulting milestones we should be looking at? New research suggests that pet parenthood might be a good place to start.

Online marketplace for pet care Rover has revealed that over one-quarter of Brits believe that getting a pup is a bigger commitment than marriage and that couples should wait at least 22 months before adopting their dog.

In fact, if you and your partner do plan to tick off the ’kids‘ milestone in the future, 75% of particpants would recommend getting a dog as the best form of preparation. People cited ‘patience’ as the number one skill for being a good parent and although weddings do require huge amounts of this (ingrained family politics are a delightful test for the bride and groom on their big day), there‘s nothing like sitting up with a teething puppy through the night to prepare you for the day you're doing it with a human baby.

Respondents also cited that their dog helped them to be more prepared for the financial demand of parenting and the sleepless nights that come along with having a human baby.

Pup parent Orla from north London had been with her partner for eight years when they decided to rescue Luna, a stray from Romania. "In many ways, it was really tough on our relationship – who knew there were so many different ways to parent a pup!“ She admits. “But in so many others, it really brought us together. Luna is a rescue, and an anxious one at that, so the patience involved in getting her to where she is now was a real journey, but one that we went through together. We have a proper little family now, and seeing Luna’s face when all three of us are out on a walk together makes it all worth it.“

Adem Fahmi, Rover's canine behaviourist echoes this. “Naturally, owning a dog brings about a huge amount of responsibility and requires a lot of time, patience, and commitment." He stresses that careful thought needs to be given to how to adapt and ensure that the needs of all family members, both two-legged and four, are met in this time of transition and going forwards. "When considering a pet, this may mean that extra costs need to be factored in to ensure the happiness of your dog going forwards and to help create harmony in the family home for all."

Orla agrees: ”It's definitely not a decision to take lightly (a pup isn’t just for Christmas after all). There are practicalities you have to consider, such as who will walk them, who will be there for them in the day – and if they’ll be left alone, for how long – plus financial considerations such as food, vaccinations and vet bills.

All of which is to say that getting a pup is a very big commitment indeed, so make sure you and your partner have fully talked things through before you take the leap.

Societal pressure to do certain things by certain times can often feel overwhelming but these shifting times mean you have the ultimate excuse to be flexible. So rip up the rulebook and do things in the order that makes sense to you. And the next time Aunty June gets sniffy about you not being married, remind her that you have a dog, and to many these days, that's an even bigger and better commitment to make.

girl with blonde hair with ginger cat on her lap

Jess Commons

Jess is a writer, editor and former global lifestyle director at Refinery29 with previous stints at ITV, Grazia, The Debrief (RIP) and more. She is a sucker for an older gentleman cat with A Past and spends most of her time being told what to do by her toddler and her three-legged rescue cat, Mac.

Related articles