Confidant, Stress Reliever, Wingman - and Other Roles Dogs Play

It’s now well known that dogs are our family members, but a new survey says their role extends well beyond companionship.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: July 27, 2018

To most owners, dogs are much more than pets. According to a new survey conducted by Just Right by Purina, owners think of their dogs as confidants, counselors, stress relievers, and much more.

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More than 1000 dog owners age 18 and older were surveyed about the relationship and bond they had with their canine counterparts.

“We conducted this survey to learn more about what exactly the owner-dog relationship looks like,” Julia Pitlyk, brand manager of Just Right by Purina, said, “and while each relationship provides that deep connection, the results really support our belief that every dog is unique.”

Ninety-five percent of the survey respondents said they view their dog as part of the family, but what specific roles do dogs play in their owners’ lives?
  • Bunk mates: 31% of dog owners between 18 and 34 years of age said their dogs are the little spoon and 19% said their dogs are the big spoon when sleeping.
  • Children: 56% of dog owners between 18 and 34 years of age said they have purchased birthday cakes for their dogs, and 77% said they feed their dogs before they feed themselves.
  • Confidants: 44% of dog owners said their dogs are their confidants. 
  • Emotional supporters: 55% of dog owners said their dogs give them emotional comfort after receiving bad news.
  • Stress relievers: 62% of dog owners said their dogs help them destress after a long day at work.
  • Wingmen: 15% of male dog owners said their dogs help them gain attention from the opposite sex.
  • (Woman’s) best friend: 50% of women dog owners said they preferred time with their dogs over time with their partner and/or other family members.


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