Pets Before Partners?

Even when romance is in the air, pets remain first in our hearts. That finding – as well as several heartbreaking and heartwarming relationship stories – came out of a recent poll of PetFirst Pet Insurance policyholders.

Nearly eighty-five percent said that pets were non-negotiable when dating, selecting “love me, love my pet” as their reaction to potential partners.  “I would never get involved with anyone who was not a pet person,” said one respondent.

Thirty-nine percent are so up front about this that they include their pet in their profile picture when using a dating app.

Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and National Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) fall just six days apart, but the survey indicates that “Love Your Pet” is the more important day.

Less than three percent of respondents would compromise by relegating a pet to certain parts of the house to accommodate a human partner.

In an open-ended question about pets and dating, several pet parents reported using pets to screen potential human partners. “Every time my cat has not liked someone, it has always turned out that he was right,” said one.

Pets have also played a key role in bringing people together. One woman knew things were promising when her usually protective dog immediately loved her date. “I married the guy,” she said. “Happily-ever after for all of us.”

“These stories were so touching to hear,” said PetFirst CEO Katie Blakeley. “Pets are an important part of our family and when you add to a family the love just multiplies! At PetFirst, we’ve always known that people take care of their pets just like every other member of the family.”

Another couple reported turning to therapy to help improve their communication skills. Divorce wasn’t an option because they both wanted the dog. “So basically, our dog helped us work harder on being a better couple.”

In another story, a woman was left alone when her dog died. She was touched when the guy she was dating offered to let one of his dogs move in with her, to ease her loneliness. The guy ended up moving in a few months later. “I knew he was the right guy for me when he offered me his dog.”

Although most people were willing to accept their partners’ pets, nearly 40 percent had concerns about how well two sets of pets might blend. One policy holder shared a heartwarming story about two very different dogs blending well.

“He had his German Shepherd and I had my poodle mix,” they wrote. “We made dinner and after dinner we found the German Shepherd laying in front of the fireplace with my poodle mix curled up against him! He has been my husband for the past 38 years….and although Tonka and Toby have passed on, we continue to rescue special needs dogs!”

Having said all that, people did put some limits on the presence of pets. While one fourth of respondents thought a dog park was an excellent first date option, three-fourths of respondents said no to the idea of a taking pets on a first date.


About PetFirst

PetFirst Pet Insurance, a MetLife company, was founded in 2004.  PetFirst is dedicated to removing personal financial considerations from pet care. By providing affordable pet health insurance to families, PetFirst helps ensure that their pet is covered in the event of an accident or illness. To learn more, please go to