Pet Owners or Pet Parents ?

There is a lot of debate around the phrases “pet owners” and “pet parents.” But why is there debate?

The implications of the word “owner” over the word “parent” can cause a disagreement among those who have pets. Ideally, we want to think of pets as our companions and not something that we take ownership of.

Getting a pet can certainly take a lot of responsibility. The way that people view animals, in general, can play a large part in how they will treat their pets.

At the end of the day, the goal is to provide a safe and happy home for our pets. Of course, that process can start when we change how we view our relationship with our animals.

Pet Owners (And the Implications)

To view yourself as a pet owner may seem perfectly harmless. A lot of people will use the phrases “I own a cat” or “I own two dogs” without meaning it negatively.

However, the phrases that people use to describe their pets are often indicative of the way they subconsciously look at animals.


When we pay for something and get something else in return, we often view the item we receive as “ours.” If you own an object, you can do whatever you want with it. You can even ruin the object regardless of how much money you spent.

However, if we turn this lens to other individuals, we can see how this mindset quickly becomes problematic. It’s generally accepted that human beings cannot, and should not, own other people. That’s slavery, and it goes against everything we stand for in most societies. We’ve had wars over this to prove that no person can “own” another.

Why does this idea of ownership end when it comes to other living, breathing beings? The problem with viewing a pet as something that you own is that people can often blur the lines between treating the pet as a living being and as an object they pay for.

Animal Rights

Since the 1800s, people have been looking out for their fellow animal companions. Over time, society saw a rise in the creation of organizations to speak on and protect animal rights.

The way that people view animal rights can differ from person to person. A lot of people agree that animals are cute and should not be subject to any form of cruelty. For many, that’s where their ideas on animal rights end.

However, when we consider the nuances of animal rights, we start to get into the right for animals to live with or without humans. Essentially, we share the earth with other animals. Despite the human habit of domestication, each animal on the planet has a right to its freedom.

When we take care of an animal, we are providing for these animals the same way we provide for children. Taking care of a child takes a lot of money, time, care, and patience. A pet will also require all of these things, albeit on a smaller level.

At the same time, a mother or a father would not call themselves a “child owner.” The point of providing for another living being is to help it grow and to build a connection with it.

Overall Implications

Being a pet owner may not seem like a bad thing, especially if you love your pets. But once you make the transition in your thinking from “ownership” to “parenthood,” your relationship with your pets can change.

Pet Parents (And the Implications)

Viewing yourself as a pet parent is a softer approach to providing for pets.

For a lot of people, being a pet parent comes naturally. There is a strong bond that often develops between a pet and its caretaker. When you are providing for a living animal, it can be hard not to think of yourself as its parent.

Generally, pet parents are more dedicated to their pet’s well-being and consider their furbaby one of their own. If you consider yourself to be a pet parent, you may be more willing to spoil your pet with food, toys, and accessories. In a study by Mintel, 61% of US pet owners believe that good pet parents provide only the best food and toys for their pets. 47% are even willing to go into debt to pay for their pet’s medical fees.

Pet parents not only consider their pets family, but they have also humanized them. This means that on top of basic needs, pet parents also want to provide their pets with luxury experiences and synchronized daily habits. Many pet parents consider dining with their pets an important experience.

As pet parenting becomes the new norm, there’s an increase in training and research on grooming services for pets. Pet parents don’t just bring their pets in for maintenance, they also want their pets to enjoy a relaxing experience as the normal human would at a spa.

Differences Between a Parent and an Owner

It’s undeniable the majority of pet parents and owners both love their pets. While most pet owners may consider their pet family, not all of them identify as pet parents.

Pet owners with human children tend to consider their pets family but wouldn’t call themselves pet parents. On the other hand, pet owners without human children are more likely to call themselves pet parents and think it’s quite similar to parenting a child and a pet.


When we view our pets as our family, we go the extra mile to provide for them as well as we can. We will take an active part in their diets, social life, physical health, and mental wellbeing.

While our pets depend on us, that does not void them of their rights to being treated with respect. Considering furry friends as your family stems from having compassion towards the animals.

Pets come in many different species and can include cats, dogs, goats, pigs, cows, snakes, rabbits, and many more. All animals are part of a family, regardless of how big or small, making you their pet parent!