Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, keep safety recommendations and local social distancing mandates in mind.
Is your online dating profile not getting the results you hoped for? Try including your dog in your profile pic.
Dogs have long been lauded as babe or dude magnets, but a recent study suggests there’s a lot of truth to this assumption. A survey conducted by the pet food brand I and Love and You polled 2,000 U.S. users of online dating apps like Bumble and Tinder. Of the respondents who own dogs, an overwhelming 63 percent credited the appearance of their dogs in their profile pics with landing them dates.
This might not be terribly surprising. For one thing, a 2010 study found that dog owners tend to be warm, confident, outgoing, and responsible, all of which are desirable traits in a potential mate. Whether you’re just looking for someone to hang out with or hoping to meet The One, owning a dog could be a good sign of compatibility, especially if you love dogs.
But other results of the dating survey suggest that potential suitors aren’t necessarily thinking along those lines. 39 percent of respondents admitted to swiping right solely because they wanted to meet and hang out with the dog in the photo. Whether or not they made a love connection with the dog’s owner was irrelevant.
Apparently, including your dog in your dating profile is so effective at gaining matches that another 39 percent of respondents ‘fessed up to borrowing a friend’s dog to appear in their photos. However, in light of the above revelation, it’s probably not surprising that this can backfire. Of those who admitted to posing with a friend’s dog, 53 percent reported that their dates were “very upset” to learn that they didn’t, in fact, own a dog.
39% of online daters admit to swiping right solely because they want to meet and hang out with the dog in the photo.
Relationships Gone to the Dogs
Dogs’ involvement in the romantic lives of respondents extends beyond simply landing a match. Of those whose dates turned into relationships, 37 percent reported breaking up with someone over a pet, and 69 percent admitted missing their ex’s pup more than their ex.
For many of the dog owners surveyed, their dogs’ feelings played a big role in their romantic decisions. 53 percent worried that a breakup would leave their dog feeling abandoned. Another 31 percent admitted to staying in a relationship that had run its course because they couldn’t bear the thought of leaving their partner’s pet. Lindsey Rabaut, I and Love and You’s VP of marketing, pointed out, “We believe pets are people too, so not only can a breakup be heartbreaking with your human partner, it can sometimes be even harder knowing you won’t see your furry companion every day. We want the best for them, even more so after a breakup.”
Puppy Love Beats True Romance
While much has been made in the news about Millennials choosing to get dogs rather than have children, it appears that many members of this generation would also choose a date with their dog over a romantic encounter. 60 percent of those surveyed said they’d prefer to spend Valentine’s Day hanging out with their dog rather than with a romantic interest.
Not only that, but they also treat their dogs extra special on Valentine’s Day, with 45 percent opting to buy their furry Valentine a new toy, 44 percent treating them to a fancy meal, and another 44 percent giving their dogs a special treat to mark the occasion. “One of our favorite ways to show our pets love is treating them to a delicious and nutritious meal,” said Rabaut. “Food is love for pets and humans.”
As much as Millennials love their dogs, one survey response suggests that respondents may turn to their dogs to alleviate loneliness. An astonishing 83 percent admitted that Valentine’s Day causes them to crave extra love and affection from their four-legged companions. “Pets make the ultimate Valentines,” said Rabaut. “They love us unconditionally year-round.”
Perhaps that’s why many of the survey’s respondents go beyond toys and treats and opt for a more permanent way to show their love for their dogs. Of the dog owners who were polled, an entire third had proven their devotion by getting tattoos of their pups.
Relationships can be complicated, but dogs keep things simple. They never criticize or complain, they don’t care if you control the remote and they’re always happy to see you. For a generation suffering from low employment, crippling student loan debt, and other economic disadvantages that contribute to making them the most anxious generation, perhaps it’s unsurprising that at the end of the day many Millennials would rather come home and cuddle with their dogs than with a romantic partner.
But for those who wouldn’t, letting your profile pic go to the dogs might be a shortcut to finding a partner—one who’s as crazy about your pooch as you are.