By Jonathan Traynor
WE love our dogs so much that we let them sleep on the bed, they have their own spot on the sofa, and put their health and happiness above our own.
A survey of 2,000 dog owners in the UK showed that such is our love for our pampered pooches that six out of 10 admitted they see the four-legged companions as being like one of the children.
30% allow their pooch to sleep on their bed while a quarter have turned down nights with friends because they can’t bear to leave their dog at home alone.
It also emerged having pictures of your pet on display in your house is the biggest sign they are part of the family, along with giving them a nickname, and celebrating their birthday.
Other indicators include having their image as the screen saver on your phone, only going to dog-friendly pubs and restaurants so they can go with you and even giving them their own social media account.
Incredibly, in the event of a breakup, 37% would be more devastated by losing custody of their dog than the house they live in.
A spokesman for Lintbells, manufacturers of natural supplements for dogs, cats and horses, which commissioned the research, said: “It doesn’t take long for a furry companion to really feel like one of the family.
“In fact, our research found it takes people just two months of dog ownership before they can’t imagine life without their new four-legged friend.
“And once a pet feels like part of the family, there’s a huge temptation to treat it as often as you can, as a way of showing your love.
“We all want what’s best for our loved ones and the same goes for our pet.”
The study found 44% of dog owners have planned a holiday specifically with their canine’s enjoyment in mind, while a third have bought their dog a personalised present after returning from a trip away.
And 34% have even avoided going on holiday entirely because it would have meant them being away from their beloved pet.
Nearly half of all pooches in the country have their own spot on the sofa, forcing humans to get up and move if they dare settle down on it.
And a quarter of respondents have had to tell guests not to sit on a particular seat – in case the dog fancies a sit down.
It also emerged doggy-devotees are twice as likely to say hello to their dog first after getting home at the end of the day, than their partner.
More than one in ten have even marked their pet’s birthday with a party while 12% admit to often spending more of their spare cash on their dog than they do on themselves.