Reasons to be cheerful: New study reveals that pet owners feel less lonely
According to a recent study by More Than pet insurance, over a quarter of pet owners reported that they feel less lonely because they own a pet and they also experience lower levels of stress and lower blood pressure.
The research - which was conducted in partnership with a team of psychologists from Innovation Bubble - revealed that:
- Owning a pet appears to reduce blood pressure and stress by at least 10%
- 85% of pet owners reported a more optimistic disposition – more than those without pets (77%)
- Pet owners said that they felt less stressed on school nights than non-pet owners - by around 10% - and less stressed at weekends - by 18%
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Researchers recorded the blood pressure levels and self-reported emotions of pet owners and non-pet owners and compared the results. The readings were taken 3times a day over the course of a week and revealed that on days that were reported as typically ‘stressful’, the pet owners blood pressure was an average of 10% lower than the blood pressure of the people who did not own any pets.
But which pets have the most positive effects? When comparing the different types of pet owners, the study revealed that dog owners exhibited the highest average scores of optimism – and they also felt more valued too – dog owners felt more valued than cat owners by 20%.
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Pets were are also found to reduce loneliness and depression. Respondents who live alone with a pet reported lower levels of loneliness compared to non-pet owners living alone, who reported that they felt almost twice as lonely. Dog owners said that they also feel that by walking their dog and meeting and talking to people they feel like they are part of a community and this social interaction also helps to alleviate loneliness.
Talking about the findings, Dr Simon Moore, CEO of Innovation Bubble, explained why our pets can make us feel so good:
“When you’re caring for your pet, you’re also caring for yourself. Our pets, especially dogs, can offer a range of psychological benefits when it comes to managing our emotions. Their presence alone can trigger feelings of security.
“These findings shine a light on how our comfort blanket can come in four-legged form. Caring for your pet can offer a welcomed distraction from anxious thoughts and help to build stronger mindsets and social bonds.”
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Managing director at MORE THAN, Kay Martin, agreed:
“Pets provide that quick, unfiltered, and uncomplicated positive feedback that can lift your mood when you need it most. Whether through the wag of a tail or a friendly woof – pet owners delight in their four-legged friend’s ability to give positive feedback ‘on tap’.”
Does your pet help you to feel less lonely or stressed? Let us know in the comments section below!
Main Photo by Leandro Fregoni on Unsplash