Do Pets Make You Happier?
The benefits of having a pet are far more than happiness.
As our poll confirmed, not only are pet owners happier, but they are more likely to experience success and wealth too. Out of the 2,000 people across the UK polled, we found that those with canine and feline companionships were TWICE as likely to consider themselves a success. Even better? Those who owned a pet were found to earn almost £4,000 more each year than those without.
How do pets make you healthier?
In understanding our pets and happiness statistics, it became apparent that pet owners also tend to exercise more. In fact, our results showed that pet owners have almost double the amount of exercise, raising their heart rate five times a week in comparison to the average three times a week for non-pet owners. It's not a surprise that nine in 10 pet owners believe that their animal-companion is good for their health and wellbeing!
Psychologist, author (and owner of two tabby cats) Corinne Sweet said: “The psychological and emotional benefits of pet ownership are well-known among mental health professionals. Having a close bond with a domestic animal can boost ‘feel good’ biochemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin. This can make owners feel relaxed, calm and happier at home. "
Pets can contribute to more positive actions.Perhaps more surprisingly, our study revealed that owners of cats and dogs are more likely to volunteer for a charity and go on their dream holiday. And even though those without pets are more likely to pay off their mortgage quickly (69% compared to 60%) and retire earlier (46% in comparison to 35%), pet owners are more likely to be married, have a child, bag themselves a University degree, and have found their perfect job.
What are the emotional benefits of having a pet?Pet ownership has long been shown to offer mental health benefits to people of all ages. Corinne Sweet cites furry companions like cats or dogs as an important part of older people's lives, with the ability to "create an enormous sense of comfort, especially after a loss, a marital breakdown or a change of circumstance."
43% of people polled think of their dog or cat as someone to talk to, and 16% stated that if it wasn't for their pet, they wouldn't speak to anyone. In addition to this, half of those polled admitted that they never felt lonely due to having a pet, and the same percentage always look forward to getting home to see them.
Do pets make you happier?While 45% of people polled say that their pet is the main reason they exercise, for 31 per cent, having a pet gives them a purpose in life. As Caroline says, "It [a pet] gives us a sense of place, and a sense of meaning and purpose, in life."
Our study found that pets bring laughter to six in 10 owners, and seven in 10 feel more relaxed in their company. Thanks to this, we can safely say that having a pet will make you happier.
Pets become part of the family.
It seems that 85% of adults will treat their animal like any other member of the household – going as far as dedicating space for them on the sofa, hanging pictures of them around the house, having them as a screensaver on the phone – and even sharing a bed.
For adults over the age of 55, pets are particularly important. 60% of over 55-year-olds find companionship harder than ever, compared to just 52% who have a dog or cat for company.
Corrine Sweet's family has inevitably grown to include her two tabby/Burmese cats, Mackerel and Cappuccino, and she even says: "The first thing my daughter does, when she comes home [from university], is rush towards the cats and pick them up: they are family after all."
If you'd like to find out more about how pets can enrich your life, head to our blog and read psychologist and author Corinne Sweet's blog post.
Many of our retirement properties are pet-friendly, with plenty of space and in the perfect location for your furry friends, use the link below to find your nearest development.