The Water Bowl
Breed & Health Resources

Is “Dog Mom” a Misnomer?

By Lea Jaratz


A lot of people take issue with the terms “dog mom” and “pet parent.” Does a pet parent count as a parent? While some say yes - their pets are their “children” - others say no - you’re not a “mom” or “dad” to your dog or cat. And, I guess I can see that side of the argument. Because, while there are definitely some correlations between how I feel about my kids and my dog, the relationship is not quite the same.

Let’s be honest. I am my dog’s best friend. I am not my kids’ best friend. I am not raising my dog to ultimately go find his own job and his own place to live. I have never put my dog to bed and felt a need to pop the cork on a bottle of merlot.

Maybe there should be a different word instead of “dog mom,” like how in non-English languages there are words without an English equivalent (examples). But, what would the word be?

"Person who shares the bed with a dog" would be “persona che condivide il letto con il cane” in Italian.* Nope, too long.

If I spoke Maori, “Lady who dresses to match her cat’s fur” would be “wahine e kakahu ki orite te huruhurur ngeru.” What?

"Guy who makes up voices for his four Pugs." (Oddly specific, but who knows, the Germans always have interesting-sounding words.) Mann der Stimmen fur seine vier Pugs Macht. Well...that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

If it were up to me it would translate to something like “person who is guardian to an animal and considers them to be part of the family.” But I can’t imagine that translates well. I guess for now I’ll stick to dog mom.

Do any of our bilingual readers have insight into what pet parents are called in other languages? Do other cultures have words or phrases that mean something like this? I’d love to know.

* All translations via Google Translate. Please forgive any mis-translations!

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