Your pet parenting style is a sign of the kind of human parent you'll be. Maybe.

A study has linked parenting pets with parenting human babies, but not all studies are correct are they?

I had two babies before I had kids.

They climbed into my bed at night. They were bathed and brushed each day. Fed organic meals. Taken everywhere and photographed obsessively.

And then I had three human babies in the space of three-and-a-half years and my first two morphed back into the function for which they were intended: our pets. They were bathed less, brushed seldom, fed whatever dog biscuits were on sale at the supermarket.

Related content: Why dogs are better than cats. 

So it was with interest that I read about a new study that investigated the connection between how you parent your pets and how you parent your children.

The study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, identified four main parenting styles — authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and uninvolved — and found that pet parents fell into one of these categories just the same as people parents.

“The care that people provide for their pets mirrors that which parents provide for children, and pets are commonly viewed as child substitutes. These similarities raise obvious questions about whether different styles of pet ownership exist, and what part they may play in attitudes to feeding as well as predisposition to obesity in pets.”

The (slightly complicated) study came to the conclusion that how you raise a pet might just link to how you raise your kid.

Shauna’s real life baby and one of her fur babies.

They study’s findings didn’t quite correlate with my ramshackle parenting style — I have my indulgent days, but on others Strict Mama rears her head — but what it did do was stir in me some fond nostalgia for the days when my greatest parenting dilemma was deciding which park to take my puppies to.

The fact is: having a dog is in NO WAY similar to having a child.

(Except that in both scenarios you have the dubious privilege of dealing with their waste.)

So pet-baby owners enjoy it while you can.

Exalt in it, roll around in it. Rub your little noses in these facts because these privileges disappear as soon as you have a real child:


 1. Public urination.

It’s totally okay for your pet to pee in public. Let your eight-year old christen the telegraph pole outside the café and beware the death stares of fellow diners.

 2. Baby-sitting is free.

Home alone for the night.

Planning on heading out for an all-nighter? Mr Biggles isn’t going to care as long as he’s been fed a bowl of Good-O’s and the TV is left on the home shopping channel. Kids are slightly, er, needier.

 3. Weetbix and tinned salmon. I’ll take it.

Forgotten to hit the supermarket lately? If you are only catering for a fur-baby you’ll be forgiven. A hungry feline and peaky pooch will eat whatever goes. Not so easy with a fussy two-year old.

 4. Clothing battles are redundant.

A doggy drizabone? A diamond encrusted collar? You don’t get kicking-and-screaming tantrums over an Elsa dress from a toy poodle. Dress your pooch however you please, they will love you all the same. Dress a three-year old girl in an outfit they don’t approve of and you will never hear the end of it?

 5. You must be f**king kidding!

La la la la la la la

Potty mouthed? Bugsly and Murphy won’t care. But swear in front of a four-year old and it will come back to haunt you in the most awkward places.

 6. Public displays of affection.

Ever tried to kiss a nine-year old boy goodbye at the school gate? Fat chance. But your doggy baby will only stop licking your feet when you push them away.

 7. Bed hogging.

Elbows in your back, teeny tiny pointy knees poking your stomach? There is nothing restful about sleeping with a toddler. But when a pet crawls onto end of your bed it’s totally acceptable to push them off.

Enjoy your fur-babies, fur-mamas and papas because once the human versions invade your territory you will see how easy pet parenting really is.

Does your pet parenting style reflect your human parenting style?