Once upon a time, the American dream involved buying a house, having a nice car in the garage, and settling down to start a family that involved at least one child. Nowadays a tough economy, increased work hours, and a decline in the marriage rate seem to be pushing Americans toward a new dream: That of living a happy, healthy, and single life with a puppy instead of a kid. As birth rates in the United States have fallen, the rate of dog ownership has increased. Specifically, the ownership of small dogs. Now, it’s worth noting that correlation isn’t causation. The rise of small dogs in popularity isn’t necessarily the reason for fewer children being born, just as fewer children being born isn’t necessarily the reason for higher dog ownership. But researchers have certainly noticed a trend among young women who just 20 years ago would have been likely to already have a family. According to the stats, women are choosing to marry later, which means they’re staying single longer. And single women in their late 20s and early 30s are the number one purchaser of small dogs. It’s not just the numbers, though. Evidence suggests people are treating their dogs more like their children with each passing day. Premium dog food sales are through the roof, and boutique dog services are on the rise. There’s never been a bigger interest in dog bakeries, dog clothing, dog accessories, and dog training. The 2010s have definitely turned out to be the best time to be an American dog. About the Author: Craig Davis is VP of Vet Organics, a company which produces effective and safe natural remedies for dogs and cats.