Do you talk about your pet too much?
Do you worry that you talk too much about your beloved dog? Or cat? Or parakeet? If you've been asking yourself these questions lately, or have noticed the glazed-over look in someone's eye when you bring up your pet's raw food diet (again), the answer might be yes.
If this is something you're thinking about, you've come to the right place. We asked Twitter and our very own teammates at Mashable, PCMag, and RetailMeNot to weigh-in on what they think is the appropriate amount of pet talk. (PCMag and RetailMeNot are owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)
The real question is whether or not you care about being judged. If you do care, below you'll find some guidelines for appropriate pet talk. If you don't care, that's fine too. We've also included some reassuring words from other unconcerned pet owners to further entrench your carefree attitude.
Pet lovers who are worried about being judged:
For some, it's all about context. "I think this is highly dependent on who you're with," says Joanna Kus, a software engineer at RetailMeNot. "If you're with other pet owners, too much is impossible," she continued. "Absolutely tell me every dumb little quirk about your pet, I want to know; show me all their pictures."
Jae Thomas, shopping reporter at Mashable says her pup is one of the most important things in her life, but in conversation, she holds back a lot of the time. "I do feel more comfortable talking more about her with other pet parents too though, since they better understand the love that someone can have with their pet."
When Thomas is around other pet parents, she doesn't hold back from gushing about Miso. Credit: Mashable / Jae Thomas
Mashable culture reporter Elena Cavender offers an elegantly simple rule of thumb: "I only talk about my dog when specifically asked."
For others, the way in which you talk about your pets is the key factor. "It's fine to talk about your pets all the time but it depends on HOW you talk about them," says Mashable culture reporter CJ Silva. Expressing your deep love for your pet is totally OK, but consider the mode of expression. "I want pictures of everyones pets and tell me all the stories. But do not call them your son or daughter, it makes me uncomfortable."
Sascha Segan, lead analyst of mobile coverage for PCMag shared the same basic sentiment. "Your children are the same species as you. Your dog may have children, but your dog is not your child, unless you are a dog."
Referring to your pet as your son or daughter seems to be a polarizing issue for many. But implying that you birthed your pet or parented them as a human child can also be played for laughs.
Silva (picture with Colby Jack) draws the line at referring to pets as sons and daughters. Credit: Mashable / CJ Silva
"My partner and I started calling each other mum and dad when we're talking to our dog AS A JOKE," said Mashable Australia editor Caitlin Welsh, who hastened to add that her partner has three actual human children. Welsh has this warning for anyone who "jokingly" talks about their dog in familial terms: "Several lockdowns later we now have to be careful about accidentally doing it in front of company."
Pet lovers who are too far gone to care:
If you don't care about how much is too much pet talk, good for you! You live outside the rules of shame-based society and it must be liberating. For the other camp, this is what life could look like on the other side.
"Never too much!" wrote Twitter user @RosieChad. "Fellow pet owners will understand, and non-pet owners will either enjoy because they live vicariously through you (can't have their own pet for various reasons), or if they don't like pets...they're not worth talking to haha." No words minced.
User @wellheeled has a similar approach. "There are never enough Twitter characters when talking about Chance." Take that up with Mr. Musk who might be able to do something about that.
Twitter user @ItsJamesMurray refers to himself as "Tycho's dad" in his Twitter bio, so you can see where this is going: "Tycho is my son. No questions asked."
Sam Pipitone, corporate controller at Ziff Davis Media, Mashable's parent company, says she's guilty of being an overzealous pet parent in many different ways: "Oversharing, overposting, calling her my "doghter," bringing her places unannounced, making my plans around her preferences, talking to her like she's human and waiting for an answer, using her in social settings to ease social anxiety."
But even Pipitone has to draw the line somewhere. "The only thing I do not do, and cannot get on board with personally, is giving her a voice. I can't stand when people give their dogs goofy voices."
Consider yourself warned.
Thanks for reading