11 Ways Having A Pet Is Exactly Like Having A Kid

Ad failed to load

When I found out I was pregnant and decided I was going to become a mother, I researched and read and asked questions and tried to prepare myself for parenthood as best as humanly possible. Little did I know, what prepared me the most for parenthood is something I had been doing since I was five: pet ownership. It turns out, having a pet is exactly like having a kid, with a few (sometimes major) exceptions.

Yes, you can't leave your kid in a kennel and, yes, you probably don't want to put your pet through as many years of school as you'll inevitably put your kid, but the similarities between pet ownership and parenthood are pretty valid and oh-so real. Plenty of parents will tell you that there in no way alike, but I think a dog-mom is just as much as mother as a woman who has decided to raise a child. There are plenty of mothers who haven't birthed their own babies, so the fact that you can't carry and eventually bring your pet into the world the way you can a child, doesn't mean that you can't care for your pet in the same way. Is a pet as valuable as a human? I guess it depends on who the human is, right?!

In all seriousness, while having a kid isn't exactly the same as having a pet and the love you have for both will probably be different in a number of ways, the similarities are uncanny and admitting that being a pet owner is a lot like being a mother in no way shape or form means you're a bad parent or a crazy cat lady: it just means you have a lot of your life for both animals and humans and, well, you've probably attempted to care for both. So, with that said, here are just a few ways pet ownership and parenthood are the same:

Ad failed to load

You Have To Potty Train Both


I remember attempting to potty train (aka house break) our family dog vividly. It was an absolute pain and my bedroom always smelt like pee and poop and there were more accidents than I care to admit. Now that I'm in the middle of potty training my toddler, my bedroom always smells like pee and poop and there are more accidents than I care to admit. Honestly, I can't tell you which one is worse.

You Can't Leave Either Alone For Every Long...


I couldn't leave my dog alone for a significant period of time without leaving water and food and giving him access to the backyard and probably being OK with coming home to a ruined couch and/or expensive pair of underwear. I can't leave my sone alone at all. Sure, a pet definitely gives you more freedom than a child does, but still, they both require your presence.

...Or In A Hot Vehicle, Unattended


Obviously you shouldn't leave a child in a vehicle unattended like, at all, and I'd argue that the same could easily be said about a dog, regardless of how hot or cold it is outside. Still, you should never leave either in a car when it's in the middle of the summer and it's ridiculously hot outside. This is basic humanity 101, people.

Ad failed to load

You Think Both Are Cuter Than Anyone Else's Pet Or Kid


My dog was easily the best dog, no questions asked. He was the cutest and the sweetest and the smartest and the most loyal and I didn't care if you disagreed because I knew this to be true. The same can be said for my child; he is the cutest and the sweetest and the smartest and just the best, and it doesn't matter if you disagree with me because I know this to be true. We all think our pets and/or our children are the best the world has to offer.

You Research How To Best Care For Them


I will admit that I've Googled more about parenting than I ever did about dog or cat ownership, but it doesn't mean I haven't asked the internet to help me out as a responsible pet owner, either. I've searched some strange things regarding both my child and my pets (usually about poop or eating or more poop), so it's hard to differentiate sometimes.

You've Probably Wondered If You're Doing A Good Job Taking Care Of Them


I had my doubts as a pet owner and I certainly have my doubts as a mother. I think when you care for someone else, regardless of who or what that someone is, you tend to look inward and evaluate yourself and make sure that you really and truly are doing the best you absolutely can.

Ad failed to load

Both Are Members Of The Family


This is a pretty unsaid, obvious fact when it comes to the child, but it might not necessarily be for the pet. I, for one, consider our cat part of the family, and my family dog's death felt like a family member's death; I was that upset and devastated. Pets have an uncanny ability to be become part of the family, and you really do see them as children and yourself as their parent.

People Tend To Offer You Unsolicited Advice Regarding Both


Everyone seems to have a damn opinion on everything, so of course pet ownership and parenting are not exempt. I was on the receiving end of unsolicited advice when I had a dog and then when I had a cat; listening to people tell me what they think I should do or purchase in order to be a "responsible pet owner," according to their definition and standards. The same happened (and continues to happen) now that I'm a mother. Everyone wants to let me know what I should do be doing and what I should be feeling and what I should be purchasing. It. Never. Ends.

You Probably Take And Post Endless Pictures Of Both


Seriously, count how many pictures you post of your pet and then count how many pictures you post of your child. Or better yet, count how many pictures a child-free person posts of their pet and then count how many pictures a pet-free person posts of their child. Pretty even, right? Yep. It's pretty even.

Ad failed to load

You've Probably Fallen Asleep With And/Or Co-Slept With Both


I used to crawl into my puppy's cage at night, attempting to soothe him back to sleep when he would wake up in the middle night. I do the same with my son (sans cage, of course), now that he is sleeping in his own toddler bed. I go to him and soothe him to sleep. I definitely co-slept with my son much longer than I ever let my puppy sleep in my bed with me, but both can lay claim to having been in "mom's bed" so that they can sleep peacefully at night.

You Love Them Both (Just Maybe Not Equally)


I love my pet and I love my son. The love I have for both, however, are definitely different. While I care for my cat and consider her a part of the family, if I was forced to choose between my cat and my kid, there wouldn't even be a choice. My son became priority numero uno the day he was born and, honestly, I think my cat understands.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills