Two-fifths of people have said that owning a dog is a happy alternative to having children with a quarter saying their pet fits in more easily with their lifestyle.
That is according to research by the Kennel Club, which found that while children always come first for parents, a quarter said they prefer going out with their dog over their kids.
Despite this research, the organisations found that many people have trouble finding places to take their dogs out, especially in restaurants.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: "This research proves what a well loved member of the family a dog is.
"Given how much we love spending time with our dogs, it is surprising that there are still so many businesses that refuse to allow dogs in their premises, but there is a real appetite for this to change."
Dr Lance Workman, subject leader in psychology at Bath Spa University, added that dogs proved unconditional affection and help to lower blood pressure and boost the production of happy hormones.