A 2013 US Department of Health report showed that birth rates in the US have fallen for 10% between the years 2007 and 2013. Meanwhile, the ownership of pets (prevailingly small dogs, which weigh no more than 20 pounds) is going in the opposite direction. And it is not just about the US, this trend is visible all around the world. In Japan, for instance, has a population of only about 16 million of kids (under the age of 15), versus more than 22 million of small pets. There are plenty of questions that should be asked regarding this trend, such as: are we really witnessing the formation of new modern family consisted of mother, father and a furry child, or this is just one more fad; why are women deciding to take care of the dog instead of baby and could it be that something else influenced the raise of small dog ownership?
Is it just a Coincidence?
Although this conclusion was made based on precise data, there is no certainty that the increase in number of small pouches has anything to do with the decrease of birth rates, or at least that does not to be the case with all the dog owners. One could also relate the lower birth rates with women getting married in their late 20s and early 30s, and live alone until then. Also, the rise of the trend of small dog ownership can be explained with more and more people living in urban areas, where it is difficult to keep a big dog, especially in apartments.
Treating Pets like Human Beings
Still, there is also some evidence that pets are being treated like humans (organizing birthday parties, hairstyling, visiting dog bakeries, going to pet friendly vacations etc.). Some things that would sound silly to us just a couple of years ago, such as monitoring dog’s fitness, ice cream trucks for canines, are completely normal today. And who would have thought just a few decades ago that we will dress our pouches in sweaters and jackets? Some of the dogs even have their own Instagram accounts, and a few of them is actually famous and has massive followings. It sounds weird, but even the famous Time magazine has wrote about them, suggesting that Instagram is a place for dogs.
What Is Driving this Trend?
Some people might think that the real reason behind this is that caring for a dog is less exhausting and final, and that women today simply cannot find time, money, will and even the right partner to commit to a child. Yes, for a baby you need to buy diapers and pay for medical checks, but a dog too will need some commodities like Nexgard flea protection for dogs and regular visits to a vet, etc. It is true that being a pet owner than being a mother requires less responsibility, but is that truly the real reason behind this? The general trend towards motherhood has changed and women are giving birth later than before, or they do not give birth at all. Still, that does not mean they do not want or need to have a similar connection in their life. In fact, a 2013 study suggested that the way dogs bond with their owners is similar to bond between babies and parents. That dependency could be a part, but just a small part, of solving this equation.
This is one matter we cannot see clearly, especially if we observe just one perspective. We cannot dispute that the real point behind it all is love and the need to care for someone, so it would be inappropriate to make negative comments. After all, if this is one of the existing modern families, we cannot dispute its existence, especially if it is built on foundations of unconditional love.