A team of researchers from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas surveyed 1,210 single pet owners recruited from Match.com and found that pets can affect a person’s perceived level of attractiveness, reports Hal Herzog, a psychologist who studies human-animal interaction, in Psychology Today.
Sixty percent of the participants were women and 40% were men. Most were dog owners (72%) and less than half (42%) owned cats.
The 21-question online survey, done in collaboration with Petsmart, found that more than a third of women (35%) and almost a quarter of men (22%) reported having been more attracted to another person because of their pet.
According to the participants’ responses, not responding well to a date’s story about Mr. Tinkles is a dating no-no since the survey found that nearly half of women and a quarter of men reported judging dates based on whether their pets like the person.
The results also show that men would be wise to sneak some treats to bribe their dates’ pets since 76% of the female respondents said they judged dates based on their response to their pets. More than half (60%) of men said the same.
Only 6% of women said they used their pets to attract potential dates, while 22% of men copped to having used their animals as pickup tools.
Those who gave forever homes to rescue animals were found more attractive by 64% of women and 49% of men.
Lastly, a full 75% of women and 54% of men said they would not date someone who did not like pets.
Millennial-aged respondents were the most likely to report attraction to another person based on pets and how their dogs or cats reacted to their dates. They were also more likely to use pets as “date-bait” and to find pictures of pets posted on online dating profiles as a turn-on.
Overall, the study found that women placed much more importance on pets in evaluating dating partners than men did. Those who owned dogs, which was found to be the pet that most boosted a single’s attractiveness, were also found to be more likely than cat owners to judge their dates based on their pets and to believe that a person’s choice of pet revealed information about their personality.