A study of UK pet owners commissioned by raw and natural food manufacturers, Natures Menu, has revealed that 47 percent of owners think dogs make owners them the happiest.
Cats had a score of 24 percent, while overall, 83 percent of pet owners believe having a furry friend improves general wellbeing.
Pets also topped the board for making men feel consistently happy (43 percent), followed by family (42 percent), friends (12 percent) and other (three percent).
Nearly 60 percent of of pet owners believe that domestic animals can make people feel more relaxed, and less stressed. Other ways pets are said to positively impact health and happiness include their unconditional love and the fact that they are always happy to see owners (54 percent), their cuddliness and enjoyment they provide outside of work (43 percent), and the sense of purpose and self-worth they give (34 percent).
A pooch can also be good for people’s health as one in three of pet owners admit that furry friends encourage them to go out for a walk and enjoy the great outdoors.
With 12 million UK households owning a pet, owners also stated the top five reasons why they decide to get a pet in the first place:
1. I’ve just always had a pet and can’t imagine not having one – 45 percent
2. The companionship and love that they give – 42 percent
3. My children or family wanted one – I gave in! – 31 percent
4. I wanted to rescue one from a local centre – 19 percent
5. The security and support they provide – 19 percent
Claire Miller, head vet at Natures Menu, said: “It’s widely known that animals do wonders for our emotional and physical health, so it’s great to see that as a nation we really do believe that they are great for our overall happiness. Whilst pets can help to boost our mood, of course, we also need to ensure that they are happy too. A diet that’s high in nutritional value and is balanced, combined with plenty of exercise will ensure that they thrive.
“Look out for a wagging tail in response to human contact from your pooch or a kitty settling on your lap. These are clear indications that you make your pet as happy as they make you!”