Exclusive Survey: 22% of Millennials Choose Their Dogs Over Vacations & Other Splurges

A generational trend shows millennials prioritizing dog care expenses over personal splurges and even savings, signaling a shift in value towards companionship

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A recent survey sheds light on this demographic’s distinctive approach to managing expenses, particularly when it comes to their canine companions. A surprising 22% of millennials (1 out of every 5) have chosen their dogs’ needs over traditional luxuries like vacations, highlighting a significant shift towards pet prioritization.

pie chart showing 22% of millennials have chosen their dog's needs over personal splurges like vacations

Understanding Millennial Priorities

The survey, encompassing responses from 100 millennials aged 25 to 44, offers a glance into the spending habits and value systems of this generation when it comes to their dogs. With 90.5% of respondents in full-time employment, the findings provide insight into how discretionary income is allocated. The survey found that 74% of millennials spend over $100 per month on their dogs, with the following breakdown:

  • 45% spending between $100-$199/mo
  • 23% spending between $200-$299/mo
  • 6% spending between $300-$399/mo
infographic showing 74% of millennials spend over 0 per month on their dogs

Dogs Over Personal Savings Goals

It’s no secret that millennials view their dogs as integral family members, but the extent to which they prioritize their pets over traditional markers of adult life is particularly striking. The survey reveals that a substantial 85% of respondents would prioritize their dog’s needs over personal savings goals, such as saving for a house or retirement. This decision reflects not only the emotional bond between millennials and their pets, but also a re-evaluation of what constitutes a fulfilling life.

horizontal bar graph that indicates 85% of millennials agree that their dog's needs are a priority over personal saving goals, like buying a home or retirement

The Emotional Equation

Beyond mere numbers, the survey delves into the emotional rationale behind these spending patterns. A notable 82% of millennials agree that spending on their dog is essential for their overall well-being. This statistic underscores the profound psychological and emotional benefits derived from pet ownership, which, for many, outweigh the temporary satisfaction of a vacation or luxury item.

horizontal bar chart that indicates 82% of millennials agree that spending on their dogs is an essential part of their overall well-being

Survey Methodology

To ensure a comprehensive understanding of millennials’ spending habits and priorities in relation to their dogs, we created a targeted survey that aimed to gather nuanced data from a diverse group of individuals within this demographic. The methodology behind this research was designed to offer both depth and breadth in the insights collected, enabling a detailed analysis of the evolving trends in personal finance and dog care among millennials.

Survey Design and Distribution

The survey comprised a series of questions that explored various aspects of millennial lifestyles, including monthly spending patterns, priorities when choosing between personal indulgences and dog care, and the perceived importance of financial security versus emotional well-being. The questions were structured to elicit clear, quantifiable data, as well as to allow respondents the opportunity to provide qualitative insights into their decision-making processes.

Participant Recruitment

To capture a random sampling of responses, we utilized Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) platform, known for its ability to facilitate the gathering of high-quality data across a wide range of subjects. A total of 100 participants (N=100) were recruited for this survey, ensuring a broad representation of the millennial demographic. The use of MTurk allowed us to reach individuals from various geographical locations, employment backgrounds, and socio-economic statuses, thus enhancing the diversity and representativeness of our sample.

Sampling and Data Collection

Participants were selected based on their self-identification as millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and their ownership of at least one dog. This criteria ensured that the data collected was relevant to our research objectives. Through MTurk, we deployed the survey, which participants could complete at their convenience, providing them with a small monetary incentive as compensation for their time and insights.

Data Analysis

Upon collecting the responses, the data was anonymized and aggregated for analysis. We employed statistical tools and methodologies to interpret the quantitative data, alongside thematic analysis for qualitative responses. This dual approach allowed us to not only quantify the spending habits and priorities of millennials in relation to their dogs but also to understand the emotional and psychological factors driving these behaviors.

Ethical Considerations

Throughout the research process, ethical guidelines were strictly adhered to. Participants were informed of the purpose of the survey, the nature of the questions, and their right to withdraw at any point without penalty. All collected data was treated with the utmost confidentiality and used solely for the purposes of this research.


The survey’s findings paint a vivid picture of a generation that deeply values the companionship and emotional support provided by their dogs. By choosing their dogs’ needs over vacations and other personal splurges, millennials are challenging traditional notions of happiness and success. As this trend continues to evolve, it’s clear that for many in this demographic, the joy and fulfillment derived from pet ownership are invaluable, reshaping the landscape of consumer spending in profound ways.