Pets bring happiness, love and calmness, survey suggests

A survey by ExoticDirect has revealed that happiness, love and calmness are the three most popular emotions pet owners feel when stroking their pets.

The survey ran by the pet insurance company was aimed at understanding how exotic pet owners feel about their pets, including both singe and multipet ownership.

Over 50% of pet owners had a reptile, this included snakes, lizards and tortoises. And birds were owned by over 51% of respondents.

Rabbits were the most popular pets, followed by hamsters and guinea pigs were also poplar, although more pet owners owned small birds. A more unusual pet was a hissing cockroach and a tarantula, with some pet owners also having fish, dogs and cats.

You’ll probably agree that cuddling and stroking a pet that makes you feel happier. This is because our brains release the feel-good hormones Oxytocin and Dopamine when we stroke our pets, and according to the article by Beetz et al 2012, published on frontiers in Psychology, it’s not just us this happens to.

Our pets can feel it too, in fact the same hormones are even released even if we only make eye contact.

With the release of oxytocin, we also see a reduction in our stress and anxiety levels, and other benefits to our health.

Birds too are thought to bring the same sorts of benefits – the same report published by Beetz et al (2012), revealed that birds have been seen to reduce depression in elderly veterans, both as companion pets, or aviary birds.

A better family relationship, feeling less lonely and new friendships are all positive benefits of pet ownership according to survey respondents. “It has us as a family all taking care of it,” said one owner.

However, not surprisingly, nearly a quarter have less money. A pet owners said: “more pets equals more costs. Not just food and bedding but for vets as well.” However, this doesn’t seem to put owners off.

On the whole, most pet owners in ExoticDirect’s survey emphasised just how good their pet makes them feel, helping them to feel less lonely, make new friends, and that it was a mutual family interest.

The survey revealed that 36% of owners turn to their pets when they are unhappy, compared to 27% who turn to their partners.

Pets are uncomplicated and unconditional, and just want our love, to be fed and watered. Whatever mood we’re in, they still love and accept us. This can’t always be said for partners.

So why do people buy their pets?

The survey revealed that for snakes, interesting and cute were the two most popular responses given by owners, with unique a close contender.

Owners revealed that lizards were purchased because they were interesting, cute or another family member wanted them.

While for small furries, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, cute and another family member wanting them, were the most popular first choices for purchasing these pets.

Overall, the cost of setting up a pet doesn’t put owners off, with this receiving a low number of responses as a main consideration when buying the pet. This is great news, as pets like snakes and lizards can be expensive to set up.

From lizards to rabbits, it seems that our pets bring us lots of happiness in many different ways, even though we may have a little less money in our pocket, the emotional benefits completely outweigh this.

ExoticDirect offer pet insurance for large and small birds, lizards, tortoises, small and exotic mammals and birds of prey. To find out more you can visit