Main Content

Study: Pet parents are happier, better-adjusted and fitter


A three-part study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that pets make us happier, healthier and better-adjusted.


Happy, an adult male Maltese at
Toy Breed Rescue in San Jose, CA, could improve anyone’s mood.

While plenty of research shows that pets help sick people heal, this is the first study to look at the well-being of average pet parents.

The Miami University and Saint Louis University researchers — who looked at people with dogs, cats, horses, lizards and even a goat — sought to answer these questions:

  1. Do pet parents enjoy better overall physical and mental well-being than people without pets?
  2. What social fulfillment do dogs provide, and does it compete with or complement human relationships?
  3. Can pets help reduce the sting of social rejection or isolation?

Discovery News reports, “Overall, researchers found pet ownership to be associated with higher
self-esteem, higher levels of fitness and lower reports of loneliness
among participants.”

[The second study,] with a group of 56 dog owners, confirmed the benefits of receiving social support from pets … seemed to complement existing relationships with humans rather than compete with them.

A third experiment, with a sample of 97 undergrads, looked at participants’ reactions to rejection and whether thinking about their pets provided social support. It turns out thinking about pets made people feel just as good as keeping a supportive best friend in mind.

If you needed another reason to adopt a pet, the study comes just in time for our Big Birthday Adoption Weekend! So be sure to share it with your friends when you invite them to attend a birthday adoption event near you.

Bookmark and Share

More on this subject:

Discovery News: Pet Ownership Improves Well-Being

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership

Animal Planet: Top Five Benefits to Owning a Pet

You might also like:

Article: How Cats Keep You Healthy

Blog: How Bad Is Cigarette Smoke For Your Pet?

Share this Article

Recently Viewed Pets