AMARILLO, Texas and EVANSTON, Ill. — Merrick Pet Care released a survey of 1,079 US dog owners, conducted by The Harris Poll, that revealed the many ways dog owners treat their dogs like part of the family. In fact, 69% of dog owners admit their dog is their favorite member of the household, and 61% of pet-owning parents with children under the age of 18, as well as married pet owners, feel the same way.

The survey also showed 62% of dog owners buy their dogs gifts for holidays and 54% celebrate their dogs’ birthdays. About 40% of dog owners admit to spending more money on their dog than on themselves, and 42% have taken their dogs on vacation.

Among millennials, 62% say they plan their social lives around their dogs’ schedules and 55% agree their dog eats higher-quality food than themselves. Millennials are also the largest subset of dog owners.

Most unmarried dog owners (77%) let their dog on the furniture at home, 66% of all pet owners let their dog sleep in their bed, and 25% have considered their dog when purchasing a car or home, according to the survey.

Additionally, about 17% of dog owners have carried their dog or pushed it in a stroller, even when it could have walked on its own.

Merrick Pet Care has launched a campaign around these survey results, “Dogs are in Charge,” which features a variety of user-generated content to depict dogs sleeping in beds, demanding attention, and being pampered by their owners.

“We love our dogs so much that we let them take control of our bed, the couch and our lives,” said Barbara Liss, VP of marketing for Merrick. “Our new campaign aims to raise awareness for the Merrick brand and connect with pet parents around the relatable truth that dogs reign supreme.”

The campaign was developed by The Escape Pod.

“In the past, dogs worked for people. They herded our sheep and guarded our yards. But today, we bring them food, we bathe them, and give them the best seat on the couch,” said Derek Sherman, executive creative director for The Escape Pod. “Clearly, the paradigm has reversed, and dogs are firmly in charge. We set out to prove this with our new campaign for the Merrick brand.”

Learn more about Merrick’s “Dogs are in Charge” campaign.

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