Every pet owner that cares for and cherishes their pet knows how much happiness animals can bring into our lives. The decision to adopt and take care of another living thing is a huge responsibility, but the benefits that come with having a wonderful creature around always outweigh the effort we need to put in. Not only do pets reciprocate the love, support and care we give to them, but they can also help us become healthier and more active in our lives. Dogs for example, can be trained to do more than just love us. They can lead the blind, protect us from intruders and harm, and provide support for people who feel isolated and alone. Recent research has also found that dogs, and especially cats, can make children immune to allergies and conditions like asthma when they interact with pets at an early age. With all these benefits, having a pet around can be amazing for all owners.
McConnell et al. conducted three different studies to see how having a pet has an effect on overall well-being in people. The first study examined how non-owners fared against pet owners in different domains. The results showed that pet owners exhibited greater self-esteem, were more socially outgoing, were more physically fit, were more conscientious, had healthier relationship patterns and were less lonely as compared to non-owners.
The second study showed that dog owners who reported that their dogs fulfilled their social needs more effectively were happier and healthier overall. This means that people who reported that their dogs added more meaning to their lives, helped with their self-esteem, and made them feel a greater sense of belonging were less stressed, less depressed, less lonely and had greater self-esteem. This study also differentiated the benefits of having a pet and the benefits of having human social support, meaning that the benefits of pet support were independent. Essentially, people can have great social support AND receive great pet support too.
The first two studies had a correlation, but the third study was an experimental study that examined the benefits of having pets. The study split a group of pet owners into three groups, and exposed all three to