New Study Reveals That the American Family Has Gone to the Dogs

More Than 8 in 10 Pet Parents Say Their Dogs are an Equal Member of the Family

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Americans across the country report that their family trees have sprouted tails! A recent survey commissioned by Milo’s Kitchen Brand home-style dog treats, reveals that a whopping 81 percent of Americans consider their dogs to be equal members of the family, while 77 percent own up to talking about their pups as if they are a human family member. Dogs have become such an important part of the family that a majority (54 percent) of Americans consider themselves to be “pet parents” instead of “pet owners.” More than half said this shift happened the moment their pooch joined the family.

The Milo’s KitchenPet Parent Survey, conducted by Kelton Research, shows that pets have become such an important part of the family that 58 percent of American dog owners are comfortable calling themselves nicknames such as “Mommy” and “Daddy” when referencing their dogs and 35 percent even refer to their dog as “son” or “daughter.” In fact, so many pet owners are switching to “parents” that 10 percent have celebrated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with their dog, and two out of three pet parents surveyed admitted they use two, if not more, nicknames for their pups, like they would for their own children.

“Dogs are integral members of the family unit, and we want to shed light on this subtle, but important change from ‘owner’ to ‘parent.’ This survey showcases how pet parents today really treat their dogs like their own children,” said Rob Leibowitz, Del Monte Foods Senior Vice President, Pet Products. “For this reason, we created Milo’s Kitchen Brand home-style dog treats because we believe that as important and integral family members they deserve treats made with the same quality and care of our own food. The survey results reinforce our idea that pet parents want to provide their dogs with the same experiences as other family members.”

However, according to the survey, being included as another child in the family may not be all fun and games for dogs. Nearly 72 percent of dog owners with children apply the same disciplinary standards to their pooches as they do with their kids. Although they may be disciplined, dogs are also given special privileges in the home as well; including 62 percent that have their own chair, sofa, or bed, and 13 percent even have their own room.

Whether pet parents have children or not, certain parental activities remain common in households with dogs – 81 percent of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays, and have celebrated at least once, and 77 percent have admitted to buying their dog a present for their special day. Even when there’s not a special occasion to celebrate, 74 percent of pet parents said they like to share one meal with their dogs each day, with 75 percent choosing dinner as their favorite, a traditional time for the family to spend time together.

It is clear that the role of dog parent is constantly shifting and evolving, with each generation allowing dogs to play a larger and more prominent role in family life. According to the survey, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe they appreciate their pups more now more than their childhood dogs, while two in three dog parents also believe they are better parents to their dogs than their mother and father.


What’s better than a parent who spoils their pup? A couple of parents treating their pooches like their children. Millions of dog parents across the country can’t stop talking about their favorite four-legged friends with their significant other. According to the Milo’s Kitchen survey, dogs are dominating couples’ conversations, including 79 percent that say they talk about their dog more than politics, 55 percent that discuss topics including their dog more than their human friends, and 48 percent that chit chat about their dog more than their job.

To get even more up close and personal with the average pet parent, 45 percent of survey respondents admitted that they discuss their dogs more than their relationship, and 57 percent say they and their partners devote more time chatting about their pups than sex.


Dog parents have even made room for Fido on the mantel. On average, dog owners have about seven photos of their dogs displayed in their homes or offices. Nearly a quarter of pet parents (23 percent) have a photo album dedicated to just pictures of their canines, and 16 percent have started scrapbooks for their dogs. Even when out on the town, dog parents still proudly boast about their furry family member, with 71 percent admitting that they have at least one picture on them at all times that they show off to others.

About Milo’s Kitchen

Milo’s Kitchen Brand home-style dog treats are 100% real jerky, sausage slices and meatballs. We believe dogs deserve treats made with the same quality of ingredients and care that people want with their food. We're pet parents too. That's why we make each treat with the love and care every dog deserves. There are no artificial flavors, colors or fillers in Milo’s Kitchen products. The Best Treats Come From The Kitchen™.

About Del Monte Pet Products

At Del Monte, our pet products nourish and enrich the lives of pets and pet parents by providing great-tasting, high-quality and innovative products for dogs and cats and by encouraging them to enjoy an active lifestyle together. With trusted brands including Meow Mix®, Kibbles ‘n Bits®, 9Lives®, Snausages®, Pup-Peroni®, Milk-Bone®, Meaty Bone® and Pounce®, our products enrich the connection between people and the pets they love.

As a premier provider of taste-oriented pet food and pet snacks, our products play a key role in the lives of millions of pet families everyday.

About Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods is one of the country’s largest and most well-known producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded pet products and food products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.7 billion in net sales in fiscal 2010. With a powerful portfolio of brands, Del Monte products are found in eight out of ten U.S. households. Pet food and pet snacks brands include Meow Mix®, Kibbles 'n Bits®, Milk-Bone®, 9Lives®, Pup-Peroni®, Gravy Train®, Nature’s Recipe®, Canine Carry Outs® and other brand names. Food product brands include Del Monte®, Contadina®, S&W®, College Inn®, and other brand names. The Company also produces and distributes private label pet products and food products. For more information on Del Monte Foods Company visit the Company’s website at

Del Monte. Nourishing Families. Enriching Lives. Every Day.TM

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Coyne Public Relations
Jennifer Marcus, 973-316-1665


Coyne Public Relations
Jennifer Marcus, 973-316-1665