Science Says Pet Parents are Happier

How owning pets can boost happiness.


Happiness, Pet
Man sitting with his dog in nature.

(MasterKeySystem / Shutterstock)

Who doesn’t want to be happy? The world is replete with products and services that promise to help people achieve happiness. Scientific research has found that for many owning a pet can be a secret shortcut to happiness.

According to the National Pet Owners Survey, seventy percent of American households own a pet. Of course, owning a pet isn’t a walk in the park, although it definitely includes lots of those. It’s a big responsibility, and requires discipline and dedication. If you are a person who has those skills, choosing to embark on the journey of pet ownership can be one of the most rewarding and joyful ones you can take.

The joy of pet ownership
A new study led by Petplan, a London-based pet insurance company, suggests that pet owners are happier than people who don’t own pets. The study used a facial recognition tool to analyze the photos of over 250,000 pet owners. It analyzed participants who own different types of pets, live in a variety of countries and are in different socio-economic levels, to ensure the accuracy of the results. The scientists concluded that pet owners are about twenty two percent happier than people who don’t own pets.

Improved health and fitness
According to the HuffPost pet owners live healthier, happier and longer lives; they weigh less, recover faster after surgery and are less likely to contract cardiovascular disease. Therapy dogs can provide comfort and assistance to people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians describes the special connection between humans and pets "a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship. The touching of our pets and the closeness of the relationship with them is spiritual," the Huffpost reported., explains that there are many additional benefits of owning pets, including improved fitness and health. Dog owners in particular are fitter and healthier and enjoy significant well-being, possibly because of the regular walks and physical activity that comes with owning these pets. The organizational skills and daily routines that pet owners develop help increase mental health.

Universal appeal
The Petplan study found that the happiest pet owners in the world live in New Zealand, followed by Brazil and then Hungary. New Zealand residents seem to prefer cats, while dogs are the preferred furry friend of Brazilians. Rabbits are the most popular pet in the Netherlands and although all types of pet owners enjoy posting about their cuddly companions, rabbit owners have the most positive posts on their social media accounts.

Many people find the online images of these sweet animals irresistible, proving that the appeal of loveable furry creatures is universal and far-reaching, bringing great joy and happiness not only to their owners but to the many others who they come into contact with.

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