Study Says Pets Really Do Make People Happier

There’s no doubt people love their pets, but new research from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) shows they can boost our mental health, too. For their new Healthy Minds poll, the APA asked 22-hundred adults and found that half were dog owners and 35% had cats, while a third (31%) don’t have any pets and just 3% have other pets including fish, birds and turtles. And nearly all of the pet owners (86%) say their pets have a positive impact on their mental health.

The APA’s survey also finds:

  • Nearly 90% (89%) of pet owners say they consider their pets a part of the family.
  • Cat owners were more likely than dog owners to say their pets are a calming presence and help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Dog owners were twice as likely as cat owners to say their pet encourages them to be physically active.
  • The biggest concerns pet owners have about their furry companions include their pet getting old or passing away (71%), their pet’s health conditions (66%) and what to do with them when they travel (56%).
  • For 63% of respondents, their bond with their pet runs so deep, they consider them true friends.

“People recognize that there is something special about bonds between humans and their pets,” said APA President Dr. Rebecca Brendel. “The animals we bring into our lives and our families play many roles from non-judgmental companions that we love to key partners in reducing our stress and anxiety. Americans clearly recognize that our relationships with our pets can have noticeable benefits for our overall mental health.”

Source: Martha

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