According to the National Pet Owners Survey, about 67% of households across the US own at least one pet. This number has grown significantly over the past decades. One of the major trends in the pet industry is the prevalence of pet owners among millennials.
Back in 1988, the rate of pet ownership in US households amounted to 56%. Reports claim that such a dramatic change was mostly generated by young people. At this point, three in every four millennials in the US get a pet.
What reasons have caused this trend? In this article, we are going to look at some of the major factors influencing millennials to opt for a human-pet bond. Let’s dive in!
Reason 1: Delaying Major Life Decisions
Over the past decade, we could observe younger Americans putting off marriage and parenthood, which are typically seen as the traditional milestones of adulthood. Currently, people are getting into their first marriage at the age of 27 (women) and 29 (men).
Why are millennials delaying marriage? The first reason for that is the fact that the concept of marriage has long lost its social allure. Marriages are no longer considered as something everyone has to do. And, given the high rates of divorces, the old-time fairy tale about one marriage for the lifetime is broken into pieces.
Another huge reason is the financial side of the matter. Most younger people have changed their priorities. Instead of striving to build a family, they get more focused on getting a good education, shaping a career, and ensuring a solid economic foundation.
Most millennials deem that having a certain level of financial independence is the main prerequisite for getting married.
Now, given all these reasons, it becomes pretty clear why so many younger folks are putting off marriage and children for later. And this is the first big reason why they choose to own a pet instead.
According to the stats, young couples don’t mind living together. About a quarter of unmarried young adults share a house, and most of them own a pet. Experts believe that in such a way, couples try to replace the need for taking care after someone. In other words, a pet, in this case, is a substitute for a child.
Besides, as many as 88% of young folks themselves see owning a cat or dog as a way to prepare for real parenthood.
Reason 2: Freedom
Although taking care of a pet isn’t easy, it is for sure less stressful than looking after a child. Pet parenthood sets certain boundaries, but, generally, ensures a higher level of freedom. Your dog or cat will need tons of love and attention, but it won’t require constant monitoring.
This reason gets especially big for millennials who are still in college. We all know how stressful and time-consuming studying is. Pet ownership takes less time. Students can opt for professional writing help from EssayPro to save some time for walks and cuddles with their pets. Meanwhile, balancing between college and family is much harder, even with some extra help.
Reason 3: Putting Career and Success First
There is no need to sugarcoat it - parenthood is associated with a wide range of issues and boundaries. For ages, the typical parenting pattern implied that a man was supposed to provide for a family, while a woman had to deal with everything related to house and children, giving in her personal development and success.
This scheme worked fine for ages, but not today. Nowadays, millennials would rather experience the joy of pet parenthood while taking their time to build careers and succeed.
This makes pretty good sense for a lot of us. Just think about this for a moment - women who postpone pregnancy can make around $16,000 more for every year they wait.
Besides, taking care of a cat, dog, or another animal is generally cheaper, which means that such couples have larger chances of developing a solid economic foundation. They spend less on typical provisions and get a chance to make some savings for the future.
Reason 4: Building Up Responsibility
A big reason to adopt a furry child, especially when you are a young adult, is that it teaches responsibility. Pet owners are forced to commit to ensure a healthy, happy, and stress-free life of their beloved friends.
When bringing a pet into your house, you oblige yourself to provide it with:
- Timely meals;
- Regular walks;
- Personal care;
- Medical care;
- And lots of love and attention.
Just like babies, animals are completely dependent on you once they enter a family. They need around-the-clock support and care. Of course, the level of responsibility is somewhat less than in the case with a child. However, it still helps boost your level of liability.
Reason 5: The Change in the Way Pets Are Viewed
One more reason that caused a significant rise in the number of pet owners is the shift in the way we perceive animals. Throughout decades, people have formed a strong belief that cats and dogs are integral members of a happy family.
The animal status in the household has been changing gradually. From protectors, they became our best friends and family members. Why did this happen? Here are a few major triggers of this change.
- Unconditional love.
Similarly to a child, who loves his parents way before even meeting them, our furry friends develop the same kind of true, unconditional love to their families.
Most domestic animals maintain some of their wild instincts even when living in a household. One such instinct is the protection of their families. Thus, similarly to family members protecting one another, our four-legged children do the same.
- Accustomization to routines.
Every family has certain routines and traditions. Interestingly enough, most domestic animals would quickly get accustomed to their family’s routines and schedules.
These and many other reasons prove that once being adopted into a specific family, an animal quickly adapts to its habits and develops a strong bond with the owners. Thus, without any doubt, our furry friends are truly our family members.
Reason 6: Unique Bond and Health Benefits
The last and probably most important reason why young people opt for pet ownership is the unique bond created between a pet and its owner. As well as the many benefits it brings.
Cats and dogs, which are the most popular pets in the civilized world, are known for being people’s good friends. An animal generates a unique bond with its owner almost instantly. This bond implies the highest levels of trust, friendship, and affection, which has many positive benefits for human health.
- Socialization. All pet owners will agree that adopting a pet brings in almost unlimited opportunities for socialization. It helps to connect with other animal lovers and make many good friends.
- More exercise and outdoor activities. Our four-legged friends need lots of play time and going out for walks. This brings in more outdoor time and fitness to our lives, which has numerous benefits for health.
- Reduced stress levels. We all know that living in a fast-paced world like ours can be extremely stressful. Often, people find it hard to manage their stress. That’s another way how having a fur child can help you. It has been proven that pets reduce stress levels, and help to combat depression and anxiety at the early stages.
- Decreased feeling of loneliness. In the modern world, surrounded by a large crowd of people, many of us tend to feel lonely. This feeling can be destructive in so many ways. However, if you adopt a cat or dog, their genuine love and trust can decrease the feeling of loneliness, thus, making you generally happier.
The Bottom Line
Of course, animals are not nearly the same as babies. However, the unconditional love and trust they give us make them a kind of family member everyone wants to bring into their household.
Our four-legged friends can make up perfect life companions. They are good for your mental and physical health. They also can help couples learn more about each other and get a sort of preparation for actual parenthood. Finally, adopting an animal is a way to feel less lonely and become happier.
All these reasons completely justify the pet parenthood trend among millennials.
Credit: Essaypro.com “EssayPro”