Valentine’s Day: why we’re turning to our pets for love


A survey by national pet charity Blue Cross highlights the importance pets have on our lives – especially on a day that’s dedicated to loved ones.

The survey, of nearly 1,300 owners, found that pets can actually make you happier than your partner. Nearly one in three (30 per cent) of owners said their pets made them smile more than their partners, while 32 per cent thought their pet was better at making them feel less stressed. 

For many people, their soulmate is their beloved pet. More than a quarter of owners (28 per cent) said they thought their pets were better at comforting them than a partner, while 20 per cent said they found them better listeners as well.

Just the comforting patter of paws in a home can make us feel safe, secure and loved – exactly what kind of emotions are conjured up on Valentine’s Day

The survey also looks into the ways in which pets have helped bring couples together, with 13 per cent revealing their four-legged friend had even stopped rows with a partner! Almost a third of owners (32 per cent) said a pet had helped to bring more fun into their relationship, while nearly a quarter (23 per cent) said it had brought them closer together as a couple and 21 per cent admitted that the pet had led them to spend more time together.

Bringing a furry companion into a home is a huge commitment that can be very rewarding; however, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Sadly 10 per cent of people said they had lost a pet during a break-up with a partner, with more than 5 per cent saying they had to work out visiting hours with an ex.

Diane James, Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS) manager at Blue Cross, said the service often received calls from owners for advice after a relationship break down as losing a pet in this way can provide the same grief and confusion as mourning their death. The PBSS, which runs all year long and provides support through a confidential telephone helpline and email service, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Diane said, “Just the comforting patter of paws in a home can make us feel safe, secure and loved – exactly what kind of emotions are conjured up on Valentine’s Day. Pets can help us in so many ways from calming and supporting us to comforting us and making us smile and laugh. They really are part of the family.

“However for those couples who have had to go through a breakup it can be double blow to face the devastation of not only losing a partner but a much loved pet. We also receive calls from owners who have lost a pet that they felt was the last link to a loved one and the loss is like losing them again for that person. Our pets really do mean so much to us.”

If you have lost a pet or know someone who could benefit from the Blue Cross’s Pet Bereavement Service contact 0800 096 6606 or email


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