Good = Dog, the Benefits of Owning a Pet

benefits of owning a pet
Good = Dog, the Benefits of Owning a Pet
Having a dog makes you a better person, new study reveals


A new study shows that the benefits of owning a pet is pet owners are happier and make more morally upstanding decisions than people who have never owned a pet or looked after an animal. When it comes to drinking the last of the milk and putting the empty carton back in the fridge, keeping money found on a shop floor, or walking by someone struggling with a heavy suitcase, it’s more likely to be a person that hasn’t had a pet in their life.

The study, conducted by UK-based pet and house-sitting company TrustedHousesitters, also shows that benefit of owing a pet is people are happier, with almost two thirds (60%) saying they are happy, compared to just over half (55%) of people who have not looked after or owned a pet before.

To uncover how likely people are to act morally, the study featured a set of scenario-based questions. These included whether or not to hand in a £10 note if they found it in a shop, deciding on whether to help someone struggling up a set of stairs with a heavy suitcase, and admitting what they would do if they were undercharged at a restaurant or were given too much change in a shop.

The power of the paw in making humans act more morally virtuous was evident in the findings of the study. Despite 84% of non-pet people claiming they are moral, only 76% would stop to help someone struggling up a set of stairs with a heavy suitcase. Pet owners and pet caretakers fared better, with 86% saying they would stop and help.

Having a furry, feathered, or even scaled friend was found to make people act nicer in the majority of scenarios. On average, 55% of non-pet people would act morally, compared to 60% of pet owners and pet caretakers. 

The Cat vs. Dog Debate

Do the benefits of owing a pet differ from cat to dog? The research also looked into how different pet owners compare on the morality scale, revealing that cat owners are ‘better’ people than dog owners… but only just.

When presented with a list of 12 moral quandaries, including: have you ever pushed in front of someone in a queue; used the last piece of toilet paper and not replaced the roll; or even more unforgivably, used the last of the milk and then put the empty carton/bottle back in the fridge, 27% of cat owners said they had never done anything on the list, compared to 25% of dog owners.

Bird owners flew above both dog and cat owners in the moral stakes however, with 47% saying they had never been anything less than perfectly behaved–making them the most moral out of all pet owners. In second place were fish owners (30%), then cat owners (27%). In joint fourth are dog owners and rabbit owners (25%) and finally it’s hamster owners with only 15% reporting they had never done any of the morally questionable acts.

“We know that owning or looking after a pet can make you happier, but it was very interesting to find out that pets can also have an impact on how ‘moral’ we are as well!” says Tim Lyons, CEO of TrustedHousesitters. “Caring for a pet is a big life commitment, and one that evidently has [an effect] on the amount of care we give to others, too.”

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