From Guard Dogs to Furry Family Members: How Keeping Dogs has Changed

Dogs are some of the most beloved companions in the UK, approximately 62% of households in the UK own a pet, with a dog being the most popular type of pet. Many South Asians have embraced them as family pets. But it wasn’t always this way…

For generations, South Asians in the UK have kept dogs as guard dogs to protect their homes and businesses. This was an effective way to deter intruders and reduce the risk of theft or vandalism.

However, in recent years there has been a shift in attitudes among South Asians, with many choosing to keep dogs as beloved family pets. This is partly due to increasing awareness of animal welfare and the benefits of having a pet, such as companionship and emotional support. Additionally, a growing number of South Asian pet owners are investing in luxury items for their dogs, including beds, coats, and even customised food.

Now, many South Asians have embraced the idea of having a pet as part of their family, we’ve experience first-hand many family and friends getting pooches and are reaping the many benefits of pet ownership. From companionship and emotional support to teaching children important life lessons.

In 2020, a survey asked dog owners for their reasons for choosing a dog as a pet, and they all linked their answers to improving happiness and/or companionship.

Happiness was the most common response with 51%, 47% said their dogs gave them love/affection, and 35% said their dogs provide companionship. – Paws & Preso, 2020

There are numerous benefits of having a pet:

  1. Pets provide companionship, which can be especially beneficial for people living alone or those who are isolated due to age, disability, or other factors.
  2. Studies have also shown that having a pet can reduce stress levels, increase physical activity, and even lower blood pressure.
  3. Pet ownership can contribute to a sense of community and provide an opportunity to connect with other pet owners in the neighborhood.
  4. Having a pet provides an opportunity to teach children about responsibility, empathy, and the importance of caring for animals.
British Bindi’s Kiran and her little fur baby, Mimi

We asked British Bindi’s Kiran about her experience becoming a dog owner:

What made you consider becoming a pet owner?

I always wanted a dog from a young age! But no one in our immediate family or family friends had one, so it was met with an absolute no from my parents. I really loved dogs and liked the idea of furry best friend you could walk around with and cuddle (but there’s a lot more to it for sure!).

Did you experience any hesitancy from anyone or doubts for choosing to get a dog?

When we finally had an opportunity to get a dog, I actually was the one who was hesitant! I have a very busy work and social life, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be at home enough. But looking after Mimi (my dog) it’s been a family effort and we work together to make sure our schedules and plans are always made with Mimi in our minds.

How was the transition for you and your family?

It was hard for the first month! Especially as Mimi was a brand new puppy and puppies wee everywhere haha, sounds obvious but I feel like we were blinded with cuteness that we forgot how much they will wee, poop, smell, whine and be a little overwhelming if you’re a completely new dog owner. However, day by day we transitioned to looking after our Mimi, she’s such a little character that we totally fell in love with her and once she was trained, we all adapted to each other.

How has your dog ‘Mimi’ changed your life?

Yes 100%! I have such an unconditional love for her and she gives so much love to everyone in the house, it’s taught me a different kind of love to anything I have experienced. My family and myself have formed a deep connection and it’s brought us together too!


An Award-Nominated blog which discusses what it's like to be a contemporary British Asian Woman. ‍

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