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17 September 2020168 views

Does having a pet actually make you happier?

Many pet owners will instinctively say ‘yes’. Having constant company and someone to look after all help manage the trials and tribulations of daily, modern life.

But is there any science behind this anecdotal evidence? Well yes, there is.

Several studies have been completed on pet ownership and the benefits this brings. The CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) in America states ‘there are many health benefits associated with pet ownership’.

One of the more recent studies on the benefit of pet ownership focused on retirees over 55 in the UK. 2,000 people were surveyed in total – an equal amount of pet owners and people who didn’t have any pets were surveyed.

The key takeaways of the study were:

  • All participants were asked to rate their happiness levels. Pet owner’s happiness levels were double that of their counterparts who did not have pets

  • Pet owners did double the amount of exercise as compared to non-pet owners

  • Pet owners earned more money a year (about £4,000 worth) compared to non-pet owners.

 

 

“The psychological and emotional benefits of pet ownership are well-known among mental health professionals,” said Corinne Sweet, a psychologist and author.

They include:

  • The release of ‘feel good’ biochemicals (like endorphins and oxytocin) which can lead to owners feeling happier and more relaxed. Think of being greeted by your pet after a long day at work!

  • Giving your pet a pat can decrease blood pressure

  • Pets can lend an ear and provide comfort to their owners – ‘the best listener has fur and four legs’

  • Cardio-vascular benefits associated with exercising a pet and even the light housework associated with keeping a pet.

So next time you’re sharing how great your furry family member is and how they have made you happier and healthier, you can support your insights with science!

 

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