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Home Living Expert Blogs When Did “Dog Owner” Become Offensive?

When Did “Dog Owner” Become Offensive?

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Last year was the first time I heard that the term "dog owner" was offensive.

"Dogs aren’t slaves! We don’t own them!" I was told. My dogs aren't my slaves, but I do own them. When did the term "dog owner" become offensive?

Did it start with rescue?

Could it be that someone thought by removing the ownership designation, animals would be seen as more valuable parts of our society and would be better protected under the laws? That sounds pretty good – our dogs and cats are our family. They’re not lawn ornaments or vehicles. We’re their guardians, not their owners.

But under the law, pets are seen as property. They belong to us. This doesn’t bother me, but it does bother other people. One friend recently shared that she cringes a little whenever she hears "dog owner."


Did it start with the pet industry?

I've also noticed big box stores and pet food brands use the term "pet parent" in their marketing, not "pet owner." Although it’s clear to me that they recognize that pets are family members, are we being manipulated into spending more, because now we’re "parents?"

Another friend told me that she cringes a little whenever she hears "pet parent." This made me wonder how mom’s feel about sharing Mother’s Day with dog moms.

Or is it all much ado about nothing?

I call myself a dog mom – I even have a t-shirt. My twitter handle is @TheFurMom. It’s a term of endearment. It’s cute. I don’t compare myself to the mothers of the world and I don’t think my dogs are humans. I’m still a dog owner and the laws back me up. So why exactly are people offended by the term "dog owner?"

I wonder if the offense comes because we're applying human emotions and morality onto our dogs. As a human, the idea that someone owns me is offensive and oppressive. To my dogs, I'm the person who loves, feeds, plays with, and snuggles with them. Shouldn't we be more focused on how we treat and raise our dogs, instead of what terminology we use?

For more tips on raising dogs naturally, visit Keep the Tail Wagging.

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