Why Do Millennials Choose Pets Over Kids?

Because They are Less Expensive and Easier to Manage, Pets Have Replaced Babies for Many Millennials. This Trend is Fueling the Growth of Pet Franchises.

With declining birth rates and a booming pet industry in the U.S., it is clear there is a trend toward choosing pets over kids. News of millennials raising pets instead of children has even spread to the Vatican and has caught Pope Francis’s attention, who warns that it is selfish to choose pets over kids. But is it selfish, or is it smart?

When it comes to deciding between pets and children, there are various reasons why millennials choose puppies over newborn babies. But whatever the reason, there is a beneficiary to this trend: pet franchises. From dog grooming to dog training, today’s pet franchisees are reaping the rewards of the recent pet boom.

Lower Costs

While millennials may be holding off having human children, they are not skimping on their dogs and cats. When it comes to accessories, apparel, and toys for their dogs, millennials love to spend on their pets. They will splurge on their pets with items such as pricey snacks or a personalized bed. This also applies to their pet’s diet. When it comes to pet food, millennials expect clarity. They want authentic, entire ingredients for themselves and their dogs, and they are willing to pay more for a superior product. Pet owners can spoil their pets for a fraction of the cost of what it would take to spoil a child.

Career-Focused Mindset

One of the main reasons millennials prefer to have pets rather than start a family is to prioritize their work. Millennials make up about 35% of the American workforce. They are focusing their efforts on making money instead of changing diapers. Overall, employment has taken up the majority of millennials’ time; as a result, they are choosing pets over children.

Financial Independence

Whether it’s the hefty expense of childcare or the lifetime cost of having a child, money factors into why millennials postpone or refuse to have children. Another factor is college loans. Some millennials have student loans that are twice or four times their monthly earnings, making repayment difficult. Many millennials are burdened with debt and their current financial situation, and having a kid just does not fit into the framework of the financial independence they desire.

Health Advantages

Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship. Having a pet will get you outside and exercising more and can even lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders. According to the CDC, regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Conversely, having kids can age you.

Preparation for Parenthood

Raising a dog can teach fundamental parenting skills to millennial couples who are preparing to have a child. It can offer some insight into each other’s potential as future parents.

For example, puppies often wake owners up in the middle of the night. When babies or toddlers are hungry, they do the same thing. Pets can also be quite mischievous and have been known to make messes, just like children do. A couple can practice handling, managing, and preparing for parenthood through these experiences.

Pet Franchise Opportunity

Dog Elite Training

This cultural and consumer shift towards taking care of dogs over children has been great for pet franchises. As more millennials postpone having children and dedicate their time and money to pets, we see an increase in dollars spent on many pet services including top-quality dog training. In fact, this trend is directly fueling Dog Training Elite’s national growth.

To find out more about the Dog Training Elite franchise, click here.

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Tyler Woodard has more than a decade of connecting individuals to life-changing opportunities. He has spent the last year immersed in the world of franchising as a Development Manager for Raintree a Denver-based franchise development agency. Fun fact about Tyler is that he has a two-colored eye, and when not on calls with customers, he enjoys all the activities the Rocky Mountains have to offer and drinking craft beer with his dog. Connect with him on Linkedin!
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