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Parents Have Favorites & Sometimes It's The Family Pet, New Study Reveals

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I used to think it was terrible that my mom often called the dog's name instead of mine when asking for my presence at the dinner table, but a new study shows she wasn't alone in how she felt about our family's beloved black Lab mix. In fact, new research shows parents' favorites are often the family pet. And although this piece of news is a bit surprising, the overwhelmed parent in me fully understands why you'd rank the family member who can't talk over the one who does.

Information collected from 2,000 pet owners as part of a survey by One Poll and pet food company, I and Love and You, reveals a high number of humans with furry friends admitted that Fido or Kitty was actually their fave, over any small humans in the house. An eye-opening 34 percent to be exact, according to People.

That's kind of startling to see, but maybe it sounds better when you put it in some context: 78 percent of poll takers saw their animal as a member of the family, with 67 percent of respondents describing their animal as their BFF, as the pet food company detailed on its blog.

Think about it: Our pets never back talk, they never protest when it's time to clean up all of their crayons or take a bath, to name a few examples. Plus, they never complain about things you did (or didn't do) for them, which may account for why pet owners these days like to spoil their dogs and cats so much. Speaking of, the survey found that 42 percent of participants throw birthday parties for their pets, while 41 percent spend less money on their own food than they do on customized meals for furry family members.

The favoring of a fur baby makes sense when you consider that petting an animal does tend to destress a person. In fact, 68 percent of those surveyed noted that spending time with their pet helped cheered them up more than doing the same thing with family or friends, according to The New York Post.

Lindsey Rabaut, Vice President of Marketing for “I and love and you" company touched on this sentiment in a statement, telling the NYP: “Pets are more than just a companion, they love us unconditionally and make us want to be better people. A pet’s love brings out the best in all of us.”

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And maybe it's just me, but with 44 percent of pet owners admitting to starting a social media account for their critter, it does bring up the question of whether Millennials truly prefer pets over kids in general, especially since raising a small dog is statistically proven to be less pricey than raising a human.

The future for millennial procreation isn't so clear (the birth rate in the United States has fallen over the past decade), but it's obvious things look bright if you're a domesticated animal. And in these uncertain times, it's safe to say "family pet" is one job that will still be around!