They may be man's best friend, but it seems they don't do much to help our other close relationships.

A dog will cause almost 2000 family arguments in its lifetime, according to a new British study. That's 156 rows year - or three a week - over an average lifespan of 12.8 years.

The most common cause of canine-related conflict is what to do with the dog during holidays, closely followed by whose turn it is to brave the elements for walkies.

A quarter of owners also regularly row about where the dog should be allowed in the house, with the most frequent battlefields being the bed, the sofa and upstairs.


And discipline is common source of discontent, with 18 per cent of couples falling out because one thinks the other is too harsh on the dog and 15 per cent fighting over who should be training their pet.

So deep are the divisions that 17 per cent admitted a member of the family had slept in the spare room following a heated dog-related dispute, and more than a quarter have considered giving up their pet to restore household harmony. Nikki Sellers, of insurance company esure, said of the findings: "Owning a dog is not dissimilar to having a baby.

"Round the clock care and responsibility throughout a dog's life can become tiresome for any pet owner but should never be overlooked.

"Maintaining a dog's physical health through exercise plus regular stimulation to avoid them running riot around the house should at least help avoid some arguments.

"A healthier dog may also lead to fewer costly trips to the vet, but for advice on how to look after a dog properly, owners should seek professional help."

The other most common reasons for falling out over Fido include disagreements over who should clean up the mess in the garden, how much money is spent on the dog, whether it's acceptable to feed them treats from the table and whose idea it was to get a pet in the first place.