As Facebook newsfeeds seem to be filling up with more and more young adults getting engaged, announcing pregnancies or having babies, it’s hard to believe that there’s actually an equal amount showing off a different kind of pride and joy: dogs.
Dogs provide a sense of companionship without the endless responsibilities that accompany a newborn child. The priorities millennials hold the highest make the prospect of having a child less appealing. Things like travelling the world, focusing on a career or goal and going out with friends don’t hold up very well when you add a baby into the mix, which is where owning a dog comes into play. Dogs alleviate loneliness while still securing the freedom of coming and going as one pleases.
The issue of money is also one of the main reasons for the switch. To raise a child up until the age of 18 years old costs on average $243,660; while for a dog it costs roughly $1,270 in the first year, and $500 for every year following. With the average lifespan of a dog being 12 years, the full cost of raising a dog would be roughly $6,770. That seems like quite a bargain compared to the quarter of a million it takes to raise a baby.
Millennials don’t want to be tied down financially and when raising a child stability is a large factor. A career is required for the peace of mind that comes with stability, which consequently inhibits freedom of travelling around the world while finding odd jobs with your dog. Another possible reason for the number of dog adoptions skyrocketing is that the average age of marriage is rising. Women are now forgoing marriage until the average age of 28.
Lastly, one of the most warranted reasons may be the fact that parents in the U.S. are reporting the highest gap between happiness and parenthood. The stress levels associated with parenthood seem to dramatically reduce happiness in those who have chosen to have babies. The opposite appears to be true for dog owners, with the presence of dogs being proven to lower blood pressure and alleviate stress. Those who have forgone real babies for fur babies may just be on to something, and lead a happier life because of it.