How Your Pet Can Influence Your Love Life

The saying “love me, love my dog” may have some basis in reality: A new study suggests that pets can influence how we perceive potential dates.That’s why Saturday’s Weird Animal Question of the Week is taking the author’s prerogative to ask: “Could your pet decide your future mate?”Pets “add some twists and turns to our love lives,” says study co-author Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and scientific advisor for the dating website (Read “Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought.”)In 2014, and the retailer PetSmart surveyed about 2,300 single pet owners in the U.S. who had registered on Of that number, 1,210 responded, 61 percent of whom were women. Sexual orientation was not questioned in the survey.Respondents answered questions such as: “Would you judge a date based on their reaction to your pets?” and “Have you ever used a pet to attract a potential date?”Puppy LoveGarcia—along with biological anthropologists Peter Gray and Helen Fisher, chief scientific advisor for—analyzed the survey results, which appeared recently in the journal Anthrozoös.Single guys who own adopted dogs: congratulations. You’re Hottie McChickMagnet. Ladies in the survey thought that men with adopted pets were most attractive, with dogs being “hottest” pet by a long shot (rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs were the least).Women were also more likely than men to judge a date based on how that person reacted to their pet, with 553 women and 277 men saying this would make a difference. Garcia says this may be due to many women’s focus on paternal care. (Read “We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs; They Domesticated Us.”)

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