New figures reveal that pets help with owners mental health

Four in five pet owners with a mental health condition say their animal has helped them tackle their illness, according to new research.

New research from MORE TH>N Pet Insurance reveals that overall, three in five (60%) pet owners claim their animals have helped to improve their mental health.

In the survey of 2,000 pet owners, three quarters (77%) say their pets improved their overall quality of life. Additionally, 37% said the presence of an animal makes them feel calm, and one third (33%) feel noticeably less stressed.

Comparing our relationship with pets to those with other people, a significant proportion said their animals provide them with more emotional support than their friends (44%) and family (34%).

Within this, female pet owners said they received more emotional support from their pets than friends (47%) or family (38%) compared to male pet owners (40% and 29% respectively).

In addition, almost all (93%) said they talk to their pets, providing therapeutic benefits for many. When asked how talking to their pet makes them feel:

  • Almost half (46%) said it makes them happy
  • Over a quarter (27%) said it makes them feel calm
  • 13% said it reduces stress

Some pet owners even brought their cats or dogs into their lives specifically to boost their mental health (10%) or to combat loneliness (14%).

Looking at how pets benefit the younger generation, 59% of parents claim that having a pet has had a positive impact on their child’s overall development. When looking at how their pet has benefited their child:

  • Almost half (46%) said they believe it has helped improve their child’s social skills
  • Nearly two fifths (38%) said it has helped their child manage their anxiety
  • Three in ten (29%) said it has improved their child’s academic performance.

Andrew Moore, Director of Pet Claims at MORE TH>N, and a qualified vet, said: “Cats and dogs provide comfort and support throughout their lives. Pets can even sometimes be better at responding to human emotions than other humans, and they provide unconditional love and companionship. With everything our pets do for us, we should return the favour by keeping them happy and healthy.”

The findings from the research show that the benefits of spending time with your pet are clear, with 69% stating that doing so makes them feel happy, but it’s important to ensure that you’re keeping your pet happy too.

To help keep your dog happy, MORE TH>N has compiled a list of five fun games you can play together –