I’ve written before about how animal companions figure into home purchases and sales. A number of you reading this have spoken to me in the past about physical concerns for your furry brood’s safety and enjoyment. It is sometimes a part of the home buying or selling decision-making process; much like bedroom count or lot size.
Despite people rolling their eyes at your “obsession,” you are not alone. In a study out this week specifically about dog ownership, 75% of the 89.7 million dogs in the U.S. are considered “family” by their human caretakers. More than half of us lie down with dogs (meaning 45 million pooches are sharing pillows with us on any given night). 67% of dog owners say their dog relieves their stress, 50% of dogs receive holiday gifts (11% get birthday parties), 40% go on vacations with their owners, 31% own clothes, 1 in 6 have social media accounts, and 44% of owners have made provisions for their fur babies in their will.
$70 billion was spent by Americans on animal companions in 2017 (see the $3,500 dog house pictured here from Etsy), a 70% increase over 2007. So what are we getting out of sharing our real estate with four-legged roommates? The study cites the science behind the relationship: When you pet a dog, your body produces oxytocin (and other endorphins), which lifts your mood and strengthens the connection between you and your fur kid. Oxytocin is the hormone that bonds a mother to a child and one lover to another. And in 2018, who doesn’t need more good chemicals in their brain?