Over a quarter (28%) of pet owners feel less lonely thanks to their four-legged friends, according to new research. Conducted by MORE THAN and a team of psychologists from Innovation Bubble, the study revealed how pet ownership can lead to lower levels of stress and help reduce blood pressure.

Less stress…

  • Pet ownership can reduce blood pressure and stress by at least 10%
  • Pet owners felt less stressed on school nights by around 10% and at weekends by 18% than non-pet owners
  • Pet owners reported a more optimistic outlook on their lives (85%) than those without pets (77%)

Further consumer research highlighted over 3 in 4 respondents (77%) agree that the presence of a dog relieve emotions such as anxiety.

The scientific research analysed the blood pressure levels and psychological outlook of pet owners versus non-pet owners. The readings, taken three times a day over the course of a week, highlighted that on days that were rated as ‘stressful’, pet owners blood pressure was on average 10% lower than that of non-pet owners.

Outside of work hours, the difference was even more apparent. Pet owners felt less stress on school nights by around 10% and at weekends by 18% than non-pet owners. During these quieter periods of down-time, pet owners leaned on their four-legged friends to lift their mood and helped them decompress from the busy week.

When the psychologists delved deeper into the human-pet connection, they found pet owners reported a more optimistic outlook on their lives (85%) than those without pets (77%). When comparing the different types of pet owners, those with dogs exhibited the highest average optimism scores. The same findings were reflected when looking at people’s perceptions of feeling valued – with pet owners feeling 15% more valued than non-pet owners.

Canine connectivity

Four-legged companions are also found to reduce loneliness and depression. The scientific study reveals how dogs can act as the antidote to loneliness for many, providing a source of companionship, social interactions, and even emotional connectivity. Pet owners feel more valued than non-pet owners by 15% and dog owners feel more valued than cat owners by 20%.

Interviewees who live alone but have a pet reported lower levels of loneliness compared to non-pet owners living alone, who feel almost twice as lonely. It’s no surprise that dog owners admit to relying on their regular dog walking to meet people and feel part of a community, with some going as far as to say it was a vital source of social interaction in their lives.

According to a further study among 1,322 dog owners and 1,201 non-dog owners, almost 9 in 10 Brits agree that having a dog can have a positive impact on their wellbeing. Researchers also found that dog owners were more likely than cat owners and non-pet owners to report lower levels of stress levels.

  • Over half of respondents (57%) say that having a dog is good company, promotes regular exercise (50%) and relieves feelings of isolation (26%).
  • Over the last 6 months respondents have felt anxious (57%), unhappy (53%), stressed (61%), isolated (39%), lonely (40%), low mood (57%), low self-esteem (48%) and low motivation (55%).
  • Over 3 in 4 respondents (77%) agree that the presence of a dog relieve these emotions they have been experiencing

Dr Simon Moore, chartered psychologist and CEO of Innovation Bubble, supported the findings: “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.”

Be more dog!

Kay Martin, managing director at MORE THAN, said, “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’.”

This news comes as MORE THAN is running its latest advertising campaign, encouraging Brits to ‘Worry Less, Live More’. Our pets are care-free and live blissfully in the moment, and the campaign aims to inspire pet owners to take a page out of their book to worry less and live more.

 

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