Millions of dog owners confide in their canine pals – because they are better listeners than human loved ones.
A study of 2,000 canine companions found 80 per cent consider their pooch to be a better sounding board than those closest to them.
Top topics discussed with the dog include how busy work was, what to wear, and money worries.
The pooch will also have to listen to conversations about the weather (57 per cent), things which have annoyed its owner (39 per cent), as well as their insecurities (22 per cent).
While one quarter of respondents tell their dog their deepest and darkest of secrets.
Of those dog owners in a relationship, 37 per cent even admit their furry friends gets more affection – including more kisses and cuddles – than their other halves do and more than half would think nothing of kicking their partner out of bed to make room for the dog.
A spokesman for Lottoland.co.uk which carried out the research to celebrate its Win-Win Charity Lotto and Scratchcard partnership with the Blue Cross, said: “We’ve always known dogs hold a special place in our hearts, but this study proves our canines are relied on for more than simple companionship.
“Dogs are definitely part of the family and many of us talk to them as if they were able to answer back – asking anything from where to go for a walk to what they think about the weather.”
The study found owners will also chat to their dogs about how much they love them (51 per cent), what food and treats they might want (48 per cent) and how sorry they are about leaving the pooch alone (41 per cent).
Less dog-friendly topics of conversation include venting about a partner (29 per cent), how irritating a neighbour is (20 per cent) and whether an outfit looks good (16 per cent).
But using the dog as a sounding board comes as no surprise when almost two thirds of owners admit their life revolves around the welfare of their animal.
A staggering eight in 10 fully believe the company of their pet has helped them get through the last 18 months of lockdowns.
More than three quarters (79 per cent) also admitted they couldn’t be in a relationship with anyone who didn’t like their animal and 88 per cent go to great lengths to ensure their pet feels like part of the family – by letting them sleep in the same room, eating at the same time and signing their name in birthday and Christmas cards.
Many canines are also allowed to get away with being mischievous because their owners love them so much – like barking to get attention (32 per cent), begging for food (31 per cent) and rolling around in the mud (26 per cent).
As many as one quarter even turn a blind eye if their pet steals food, while 36 per cent would happily give up their spot on the sofa if the dog stole it. In addition to being a good listener, the nation’s dogs also make owners feel happy (59 per cent), loved (53 per cent) and relaxed (48 per cent).
One in five admit having a dog brings out their maternal side, while others say the pooch has a calming effect on them (45 per cent).
The spokesperson for Lottoland added: “This study clearly shows that so many families let dogs rule the household, and who can blame them? They’re always there for a cuddle or to lend a furry ear. A dog’s love is unconditional and uncompromising and for that they deserve only the best from us.”
Mark Corbett, head of fundraising at Blue Cross, added: “We know how much pets mean to their owners and the special bond they can have, which is why we strive to keep pets and owners together through hard times with our clinical and behavioural support services.
“The money raised by Lottoland will be a huge boost to help our work caring for sick, injured and abandoned pets and also support those who have lost their beloved pets.”
Top topics of conversation with the dog
- The weather
- Where to go for a walk
- How much they love them
- Food and treats
- How sorry they are to leave it alone for a few hours
- General things that have annoyed them
- What to have for dinner
- How their day was
- Their partner
- What’s on the TV
- What to do that evening
- All their secrets
- Their insecurities
- How busy work is
- Things on the news
- How irritating a neighbour is
- Money worries
- What to wear today
- Whether an outfit looks good