Canine Confessions: Survey of 2,000+ Dog Owners
Canine Confessions Header

Fido has become your best friend. You go everywhere together. He sleeps at the bottom of your bed; you even sometimes share an ice cream cone. It’s a picture of canine perfection. The more time you spend together, the more you find yourself allowing him to do things that you wouldn’t have considered before – like climbing on your expensive couch or licking your cheek. It’s true: You’re in love with your dog.

We were curious to see what other canine confessions dog owners would be willing to share. Surveying 2,089 dog lovers, we discovered that when it comes to personal space and resources, our respondents are pretty much willing to give up anything for their beloved furry companions. Read on to find out just how far people will go for their perfect pooch.

Sharing your bed with a furry friend 

Canine Cuddles

When it comes to bedtime, sleeping with pets isn’t unusual. For dogs, all it really takes are those wide innocent eyes. Some of us are even happy to oblige because it can be psychologically comforting – unless, of course, your partner doesn’t feel the same way.

We asked both men and women to comment on their bed-sharing arrangements. As it turns out, more than 55 percent of male and female respondents allow their dogs to sleep in their beds. Interestingly, most didn’t want to snuggle with their dogs during the night.

Women, however, are slightly more likely to cuddle with their pooches while they sleep. And it’s definitely a good thing. According to researchers, this type of interaction has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone” that traditionally bonds mother to child) in the bloodstream of both human and dog. By cuddling, you may just be tightening a long-lasting relationship with your canine.

And dog makes a family

Pet Parenthood

Dogs can sometimes seem like small children. They have big eyes, silly gestures, and absolute dependence on us for basic needs, and many dog owners are happy to become the dog parents that these pups need. Fido is only too happy to go along, as he laps up the best food and lounges in the arms of his owner.

Our survey respondents answered questions about whether they see themselves as dog parents or not. Research shows that the same part of a mother’s brain that is activated when they see photos of their children is also activated when they see photos of their beloved dog. Perhaps we do tend to love our precious pooches at least nearly as much as we love human children. Our survey respondents (84 percent) felt like their dog was definitely a family member. However, more than 77 percent said their affection for a child would trump fondness for a canine.

That dog tongue

Canine Kisses

Oh, that iconic dog tongue. It seems to be how they best interact with people. After barking, sniffing, and jumping on you, they decide you’re their new best friend. Then, they proceed to lick your face, hand, and whatever else comes into contact with their slobbery tongue. The AKC explains that dogs tend to lick us for many different reasons.

They love the salty way that our skin tastes, we give them attention because of the licking, and licking is dog speak for being respectful of their subordinate position in the family. Some people absolutely hate being licked by a dog. Others don’t seem to mind as much.

Our survey respondents answered questions about what kinds of things they will let their dog lick. The majority (80 percent) of lick-comfortable people were fine with hands. Smaller percentages were all right with feet (59 percent) and the face (52 percent). The rare few were also comfortable with their dogs licking a plate, licking their lips, or sharing food that they were still eating.

Dog as friend

Canine Communication

We call dogs “man’s best friend” because they are always there for us. When we want someone to quietly listen, make us laugh, or to hug, they are always there wagging their tails in anticipation. Many dog owners likely spend a lot of time talking to their pooches. We probably personify them and make them more human than they probably are.

We were curious about what kinds of “human” characteristics people give to their dogs in their interactions. An astounding 81 percent of our respondents admitted to having full conversations with their pooches. Interestingly, nearly 50 percent also spoke in their dog’s native tongue – confessing that they howl or bark at their furry friend. 

fido's fare

Canine Cuisine

We worry about our pet’s health, especially with the rise of canine illnesses like cancer and heart disease. With all the fancy foods available on the market, we have a lot of options to choose from when selecting our dog’s daily dinner. Some of us, though, are more concerned with how happy our dogs are with the taste of their food. When those little canines plant themselves at our feet, begging for a bite of our panini, we just can’t help but feel persuaded to share.

So how concerned are pet owners about their dog’s diet? Our respondents revealed some interesting patterns when it came to canine feeding habits. Almost half of the participants admitted to giving their dog food from their own table.

Over 22 percent of respondents reported that they had baked dog treats from scratch. Americans spent over 10 billion on premium dog and cat food in 2015. This means that the pet food choices above are still trending and probably will be for a long time. Clearly, dog lovers are willing to go the extra mile for their furry friends.

Mutt goes medical

Dogs & Doctors

We all get sick, including our pets. Dogs can have many of the same serious diseases and illnesses as humans, plus a few of their own canine varieties. There are a number of dog health trends that Americans are now choosing for their pets. These include canine acupuncture, fitness trackers, and cancer treatments. How far would you be willing to go when your dog gets sick?

We asked our survey participants how much they would be willing to spend on a medical procedure for their dog. Over 34 percent stated a willingness to spend between $100 and $499. And over 36 percent were willing to spend $1,000 or more on medical costs. Many things go into the ability to pay for dog care, especially income level. Perhaps those that were willing to spend more for their dog’s health care simply had more to spend.

traditions for the dogs

Canine Traditions

As people, we live for traditions. We go all out for major holidays and birthdays. And we are always finding a reason to celebrate throughout the year. Some people really enjoy including their pets in this equation. Whether they know the exact date their dog was born, many like to celebrate Fido’s birthday in some way.

We wondered how exactly our respondents celebrated with their dogs. It turned out that they do a variety of things. When celebrating birthdays and holidays, it was most common to give the dog gifts (40 percent and 52 percent respectively).

Birthdays led dog owners to give their pooch a special meal. Holidays found the owners filling up special stockings with goodies for their furry friends. Doggy birthday parties are becoming more of a thing for Americans and holiday shoppers are now including Fido in their traditions at higher rates. Our survey findings reflect these growing trends.  

dog online

The Life of a Dog Owner

Our lifestyle choices matter a lot to us. We focus on creating lives that we truly enjoy and that fit with our needs. When it comes to having a pet, we also care about fitting them into our lives in a way that works for us. We make time for them in the evenings, figure out how they should spend the day while we are at work, and post photos of our fun human-canine adventures to social media.

We asked our participants about their various dog-related lifestyle choices. The most popular behavior among dog owners in our survey was to share photos of their furry friend through social media accounts (almost 64 percent). Other popular life choices included taking their dogs out on errands (more than 54 percent) and owning a framed photo of their pooch (36 percent).

privacy invaders

Pups & Privacy

Our dogs follow us everywhere. If they could have it their way, they would be by our side 24/7. Most of us could use a break from company and would prefer to be left alone sometimes. But what happens when we just want to be left alone for privacy reasons?

We were curious about how many respondents had their dogs in the room during intimate moments. The results show that many people don’t worry too much about their dog witnessing “private parts” of their lives.

Eighty-seven percent of participants stated that they allow their furry friends to hang out while they’re changing. And over 70 percent were fine with their dog being in the bathroom with them. Nearly 38 percent of the responses said that they allowed their pooch to be in the room while they were being intimate with a partner.


Dogs are a big part of life as an American. The ASPCA states that 37 to 47 percent of all households in the U.S. have a dog. This means that a significant number of us are devoted to having a canine around. Our ideas on dog ownership might vary depending on where we live and our personal priorities. But generally speaking, many of us are quite in love with our furry friends.

We might not all be willing to play personal dog chef or to allow our dogs to lick our faces. But most of us care about how happy and healthy our canine is. We want to ensure that they are comfortable, well-fed, and avoid sickness. We also want to celebrate their lives (perhaps with a fun birthday treat) and share that with our friends (by posting a cute photo of that furry face to your favorite social media account).

Perhaps our love for our little friends encourages us to be more compassionate. This translates to a better world for everyone around us. Go ahead. Have that long conversation with your furry friend and then cuddle up while watching reruns. It will do you and those around you a lot of good.


We surveyed 2,089 people on what they would do for and with their furry friends.


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