When I was a kid in the late, pre-internet 1970s, the only dog-obsessed people I encountered were the little old widowed ladies in our apartment complex, walking their rhinestone-collared chihuahuas, shih-tzus, dachshunds, and miniature pinschers. They spoke to them in honey-sweet tones, cooked them dinner, and were always dashing out to refill the treat jar. I loved the cooler weather because it sparked a parade of sweater- and even raincoat-(and rainhat!-) clad canines. I thought these ladies were just lonely and a bit dotty, but harmless nonetheless.
Fast-forward almost forty years, and my social media feed is replete with photos of my friends and their (spoiled rotten) dogs. Dogs surfing on vacation, dogs graduating from puppy kindergarten, and even dogs at expensive doggy daycare. Status updates about which dog beach they visited today, and what organic, grain-free dog food is on sale at the local pet supply store. The obsession with the family dog has gone very mainstream, and the numbers back me up.
According to Fortune, Americans alone spent an average of $1,600 on their dogs (this figure is per dog,) and we spend a total of over $60 billion-with-a-B on pet care, with half of this number going towards food.
I really can’t think of a more rewarding obsession, though- can you? Without further ado, here is a list of 20 telltale signs that YOU, dear reader, are obsessed with your dog!
Vacation Planning With Dogs
Vacation plans always include pet-friendly accommodations. Or we just aren’t going anywhere this year. The popular website Bring Fido lets you know not only which hotels let you bring your dog, but also which restaurants, campsites, amusement parks and beaches.
Did Someone Say, Pet Suite?
An in-home pet suite sounds like a great idea. Homebuilders are offering to create a Fido-friendly suite, complete with a doggy-friendly shower and optional flat-screen TV, guaranteed to add up to $8,000 in value to your home.
Family Photos and Dog
Your dog is included in any and all formal family photos. Related: you may or may not have a formal photograph or portrait of just the dog. In a prominent area. In your home.
Holidays and Birthdays With Dogs
Your furry family member is front and center of any holiday cards you send out.
Speaking of cards, you give your dog a birthday card every year and are not shy about giving a loved one a card FROM your dog.
Speaking of birthdays, you throw a party for your dog every birthday and invite over his best doggy pals for treats from the special doggy bakery. Food-related: you constantly “accidentally” drop food in the kitchen.
You Cannot Be Without Them
When someone is caring for your dog, you ask them to text photos to you. Thankfully, for pet sitting/walking/boarding services like Rover.com, it’s a standard practice.
The thought of their passing is almost unbearable, and you avoid thinking or even talking about it.
However, you are putting away money to send their remains into outer space, once the day arrives. At only $12,500, you know this is what Fido or Lucky deserves, and it’s only fitting.
The obsessed 20% of us have included our pets in our own end-of-life plans, ensuring their care is continued beyond our earthly lifespan. 13% of these folks have purchased annuities to pay the dog’s caregiver.
Fit Owner, Fit Pup
Your pup has a personal trainer. In urban areas like New York City, this has become a very popular way to help pooches lose their own “poochy” bellies.
You regularly plan play dates for your dog and have considered buying your dog a membership on Doggy Date or a similar doggy meetup/dating site.
You would never think of leaving them alone in the house without first turning on the TV to their favorite channel.
Me, Myself, and my Dog
You cancel plans with human friends in order to spare your pup excess “alone” time.
You would never admit to these human friends that it was an easy decision (but it was.) Deep down, you know they understand.
Everyone Needs a Good Nights Rest
Although you purchased the best dog bed ever made (and your weeks of meticulous online research confirm this,) you have trouble falling asleep if your pup is not in “his” spot on your bed. And if he’s elderly, you didn’t think twice about purchasing a special set of stairs to help him access that spot.
Nicknames and Assurances
Your fur baby has multiple nicknames, and you have regular “conversations” with him. In fact, according to USA Today, over 67% of dog owners claim to understand what their pets are “saying” to them.
You would take out a loan to pay for any vet bills and care that was needed to keep him healthy and happy. In fact, Americans spent over $15 billion (again, with a B) dollars taking their pets to the vet.
Of course, you have insurance for your puppy! Otherwise, how will you pay the $3,000 for their cancer treatment, $3,500 for the endoscopic surgery, or the $2,000 for the torn ACL? Pet insurance was one of the fastest-growing optional insurance offerings to employees. Over one million pets are insured in the U.S. and Canada alone, representing just 1% of the total pet population.
A Healthy Social Media Obsession
You regularly (daily…hourly) share cute doggy memes, videos, and other media on all your social media accounts, plus you subscribe to several dog-centric YouTube channels.
No doubt, your obsession with your dog helps you to be a better person to your people friends (when you aren’t bailing on them to stay in and watch “Homeward Bound” with your favorite canine companion.) You are inevitably just like your favorite furry pal: enthusiastic, engaged, loyal, playful, forgiving, and fun! What’s not to love?!