Research of the nation’s dog owners has discovered us Brits really are a nation of animal lovers, with more than half (56%) believing they felt true love for their new pet within half an hour.
However, when it comes to our human relationships, the majority of those quizzed said it had taken up to six months to decide that their partner was “the one”.
Four in ten (40%) of those surveyed by Agria Pet Insurance said they would describe the moment they met their animal as love at first sight, but only 16% could say the same about their other half.
Behaviourist and Trainer Carolyn Menteith, who was involved in with the study said: “It’s not surprising that so many of us believe in love at first sight as most dog lovers know that feeling when we meet our dog and our heart just melts.
“One of the reasons we have such a great relationship with our dogs is because of the unconditional love that they are so good at giving – and that we so often don’t get from others in our lives.
“Statistically speaking, the relationship we have with our dogs is more likely to last longer than our marriages, and so choosing our canine partner wisely couldn’t be more important for a long and happy life together, as is responsible dog ownership.
“Each different breed and type of dog has different requirements and so you must select a dog whose needs you can meet. When choosing a canine companion, it’s important not just to think “Is this the dog I want?” but “Would that dog want me?
“There are benefits to buying both a puppy or a rescue dog. With a rescue dog, what you see is what you get.
“You know what they’ll look like, what their personalities are like, and have a good idea of what they are going to be like to live with.
“Puppies are hard work, time consuming and take a lot of commitment, but you get to shape them into the dog of your dreams.”
Almost 34% (18%) said they bonded with their dog in under five minutes.
In fact, more than a quarter (28%) of the people polled said they would prefer to share their bed with their dog rather than their partner.
Two thirds (66%) said that they class their dog as their best friend in the world, while 64% added that they actually prefer their dog to humans.
The survey of 2,000 dog owners also found that 53 % of people cuddle up with their pooch on the sofa yet only 36 %would snuggle up with their other half.
More than a third (37 %) said they put their dog’s needs above their own or their partners, while only 35 %would put their other half’s needs first.
Two thirds (67%) said their dog showed them attention and unconditional love the instant that they met, but despite this 42% of owners don’t have pet insurance for them.
Simon Wheeler, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance, said: “It’s heart-warming to see how much people care about their pets, they really are a part of the family.
“Lifetime insurance can make the biggest difference when your pet needs it most and can help prevent unnecessary upset further down the line.”