Skip to content

Do Some People Really See Their Pets As Children?

We all adore our dogs, sometimes a little too much. However, is seeing our dogs as children too far? For years people have described their dogs as their babies but it’s only recently that researchers are looking into this phenomenon. A new study conducted by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers suggests that women especially really do see their pets as children.

The study involved women who have at least one children between two and ten and a dog. Participants in the study filled out a few different questionnaires where some of the questions were about their kids and some about their dog. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to pick up on changes in blood flow and oxygen levels. The participants were put into a scanner and shown a series of photographs.


It seems that the women in the study had the same emotional reaction for both their child and their pet. Luke Stoeckel of the department of psychiatry claims ‘The results suggest there is a common brain network important for pair-bond formation and maintenance that is activated when mothers viewed images of either their child or their dog.’ It’s clear that pets have an important place in people’s lives.


However, there were some differences in reactions to pets and children.  An area of the brain known to be important to bond formation was activated only in response to images of a participant’s own child.


It’s important to note that this is a very small sample of people, so they results cannot be generalised to the whole population. The researchers of the study are aware they have highlighted some possibilities, but more research needs to be done on a larger scale.

Pets have become part of the family and we can’t resist spoiling our pets. Here at GJWTitmuss we have plenty of products to help you pamper and spoil your pet. o view all our latest pet products. How do you see your pet? Are they just a pet or an integral part of your family? Feel free to leave your comments below and tell us all about your pets.


We are very sorry, but the browser you are visting us with is outdated and not complient with our website security.

Please upgrade your browser to a modern secure version to view our website.