Does having a pet make you happier?

Owning a pet has its ups and downs but does having one make you happier? We look at the pros of having a cat or dog in the home and what the scientists are saying about it.

13th May 2019

There’s no denying that owning a pet comes with challenges and can sometimes prove exasperating, but the rewards are plentiful. Scientific studies show that cats and dogs help boost their owner’s health and wellbeing, as well as increasing the likelihood of being happy and successful.

So, when your dog has decided to make a meal out of the carpet again or your cat’s gifts are just a bit too gory, here are a few reminders of how our pets can improve our lives, despite their flaws.

Pets ease loneliness

Owning a cat or dog provides companionship to those who would otherwise be alone. Loneliness can affect anyone, from the elderly, single parents, young people, to those with disabilities and while research found that there is no difference in loneliness between pet owns and non-owners, the companionship pets offer is priceless.

Help you exercise

Studies show that dog owners walk nearly twice as much every week compared to people without pets, resulting in extra exercise and less time spent on the sofa. Cats can help, too, playing with toys on the floor can be just as beneficial, and is a break from the screen.


Provide responsibility

By owning a pet, you’re in charge of everything to do with its life. You have to make sure they’re fed, clean, healthy, that they’re getting enough exercise and that they’re stimulated enough. If you’re a first-time pet owner it teaches you to be responsible,and children can learn this important quality as they experience life beside a pet.

Helping with stress

This might be an obvious one, and it’s backed by research too.  Owning a pet or simply having contact with one can lower blood pressure and help maintain a stable heart rate in a stressful situation. All meaning pet owners get to enjoy a happier and healthier life.

Connect you to a community

Cats and dogs make great conversation starters and will help you socialise, even on the days where you don’t feel like it. People have met life-long partners while meeting on dog walks or developed close friendships with neighbours while chatting about their cat, pets really do increase our social connections, which helps leaves us feeling less isolated.

So, owning a pet can definitely make you happier in ways you might not notice. They definitely have their moments, but what would we do without them?

More on our dog blog

Read more news articles, opinion pieces, reviews and personal stories behind our dogs on our blog. 


Need dog insurance?

Dog insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your dog gets injured or falls ill.


We know pets

Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £8.5 million to more than 800 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.