Brits believe getting a puppy together is a bigger commitment than marriage

Shot of an affectionate young couple relaxing with their pet dog at home
Welcoming a puppy is a major commitment for couples. (Getty Images)

Relationship milestones have traditionally included getting married and buying a house. However, in modern day Britain, things are shifting - now, getting a dog together might just be an even bigger leap to make together.

Committing to getting and raising a puppy together is now considered a more serious undertaking than marriage, purchasing a home or opening a joint bank account, according to new research by pet care marketplace Rover.

In fact, becoming pet parents is a huge deal for couples, particularly if they want children. The research found that three-quarters (75%) of Brits believe that introducing a pooch to their family is the best way to prepare for the responsibilities that will come with having kids.

Nearly half (40%) of respondents said that getting a dog with their partner was a “trial run” for the even bigger duty of having a baby. They agreed that pet ownership requires the necessary skills for being good parents, including responsibility (80%), patience (87%), and trust (55%).

The top 10 necessary skills that couples saw as necessary to parenthood include:

  • Patience

  • Responsibility

  • Consistency

  • Attentiveness

  • Trust

  • Boundary setting

  • Showing affection

  • Empathy

  • Adaptability

  • Time management

Young gay couple lay in bad with their little puppy. They are using computer and drinking coffee, while share love with their little friend.
Some couples said they got a puppy as a trial run for parenthood. (Getty Images)

More than half of respondents (58%) said that the financial demand of their furry friends prepared them the most for the reality of parenthood.

Nearly half said it was the sleepless nights (48%) and toilet training (47%) that came with adjusting to and training a puppy that gave them the most groundwork for the real human deal.

Getting a dog also showed couples how being responsible for another life would alter the way they lived. One in four said having a puppy meant there was less room for spontaneity in a relationship, whether it was less private time in the bedroom (25%) or a surprise trip away (29%).

For some couples, pet ownership also revealed the cracks in their relationship and led to breakups for 28% of respondents. However, the majority (91%) of couples said their puppy made them feel more confident in both their own and their partner’s childcare skills.

An even larger percentage (93%) said they felt like a proper family after welcoming their beloved pet and looking after a dog together made their relationship stronger (85%).

Commenting on the findings, Adam Fehmi, Rover’s canine behaviourist, said: "Naturally, owning a dog brings about a huge amount of responsibility and requires a lot of time, patience, and commitment."

Watch: Having a cat in your dating profile makes you more attractive

He warned couples that having a dog is not the same as having a baby, and urged them to consider their options carefully.

"If having a baby is a long-term plan of yours, it is important not to be naive and believe that getting a dog will prepare you for raising a child. Whilst we may love our dogs as if they were our own babies, in reality, raising a dog is a whole different experience to raising a child.

"If you’re considering having a baby shortly after welcoming a puppy or young dog, I’d urge you to carefully consider if they have the financial resources and time to offer the appropriate level of care to both a dog and a potential child," he added.

"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. During these times of transition, you can use a platform like Rover to connect you to local sitters, who will treat your pets like family."

Read more about sex and relationships: