Over a third of dog owners (37 per cent) say they have appointed ‘dogparents’ for their canine companions, according to new research from online petcare marketplace Rover.com – with 35 per cent having even gone to the effort of specifying the details in their will or having a contract drawn up, so it’s legally binding.
As well as being next of kin, the main roles and responsibilities for a ‘dogparent’ include treating the pup like family, being a positive influence, caring for them when they are sick, and never forgetting their birthday.
When it comes to breeds, it’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (60 per cent), Golden Retrievers (56 per cent) and Staffordshire Bull Terriers (53 per cent) that are most likely to have a dogparent.
But becoming a dogparent is no mean feat – 30 per cent were approaching the role with trepidation, admitting it comes with more responsibility than they could handle.
That said, more than double (66 per cent) would be honoured to have such a title and a further 35 per cent would rather be a dogparent than have a dog of their own – almost half (45 per cent) say this is because they want to enjoy the fun of having a pup without the responsibility of owning one.
Adem Fehmi, Rover’s Canine Behaviourist, said: “Appointing ‘Dogparents’ is a fantastic way to ensure that your much-loved dog will continue to receive the love, attention, and dedication they deserve should anything happen to you and you can no longer care for them – dogs are an important part of the family after all
“In addition, appointing a ‘Dogparent’ can enrich and add so much value to your dog’s life, even if this person doesn’t need to be their full-time carer. Just by being there for them, they can help to provide important social experiences, and support to the owner. Not only can it be an incredibly rewarding experience for the ‘Dogparents’ themselves, but the more people who love, adore, and understand your dog as if they were their own, the more fulfilled your dog’s life will be. A win-win situation for all involved”.
The research also asked who the dream dogparent would be – and here were the results.