Walk the dog, clean the cat’s litter, fill the bowls… Pets come with their share of household chores. And just like cleaning, cooking or washing up, these daily habits can be sources of tension: a survey carried out by Ifop for the Vetocanis brand (1) reveals that 31% of French people in a couple and with a pet have already argued because of these tasks.
This study looked at the impact of pets on couple life. Either because the animal belonged to one of the two before the beginning of their relationship and the current did not pass with the spouse, or because the adoption together of their first animal did not go as They hoped, a misunderstanding around a pet that could go as far as a breakup.
An often unequal distribution of tasks
According to the survey, for 16% of people with a pet who have experienced a breakup, the burden of the animals played a role in their separation. The first reason given is that the spouse does not get along well with the little protege. Secondly, the respondents stated that the spouse did not wish to have an animal at home.
Disagreements can also come from a poor distribution of tasks to take care of the four-legged friend. The survey reveals that 81% of women felt they did more than their spouse. The animal then becomes an element that adds to the mental burden and can lead to the end of the couple.
Education involves making compromises
Dog trainer Chloé Flesch has often had the opportunity to observe this type of dispute: “Walking the dog requires organization, which can create conflicts. When it comes to meals, a lack of communication can result in the dog being fed twice a day.” But it is also the disagreements concerning the training which cause quarrels, a little like when the parents do not agree on the education to give to their child. In this case, we can find a training solution that will suit both: “For example, if the dog can jump on the gentleman but it bothers the lady, this behavior must be signaled. Monsieur will be able to give the signal, and the dog will not do it on Madame”.
But often, the education of the dog requires making compromises to suit both: “When we are faced with people in this situation, we try to make them formulate their expectations, to understand what are the objectives of each vis-à-vis -screw -screw the dog. The objectives must not be contradictory and everyone must make concessions to find common ground”.
Chloé Flesch also notes the fact that due to the attachment of an owner for his dog, a strong emotion comes into play in these questions, and this is what can make the situation explosive within the couple. “I have already met people who have provided me, even telling me that they were on the verge of breaking up because of the dog. It really affects our relationships. But ultimately, I think it’s a good life experience for a couple because it’s important to know how to find compromises”.
Ask yourself the question before moving in together
Another problem can arise if each spouse has an animal and the two do not get along after moving in together. Anne-Claire Gagnon, veterinarian and cat behaviorist, points out that you have to pay attention to this before bringing your cats together: “People often think that they can put the two cats together overnight. But you have to take the time, take it step by step”. She suggests, for example, getting them used to each other’s scent by bringing a piece of clothing, and having them meet for a while to start seeing if they get on well.
Animals can also help seduce
But the survey carried out by Ifop does not reveal only conflicts. Participants also often responded that their pet had been a common focus for approaching the other early in their relationship. Thus, 23% of respondents say that they have already used the fact of having a pet to seduce someone, mostly to start a conversation. This figure climbs to 43% among young people aged 18 to 24. 22% of respondents even say they would be more defined by someone who owns a pet.
(1) Survey conducted on May 24 and 25, 2022 by Ifop for Vetocanis among a sample of 1,011 people representative of the French population aged 18 and over, including 963 people who owned or had owned pets.