The perks of having a pet

Study finds people who have animals at home are happier, wealthier, and get more exercise

Having pets really is good for your well-being.

A new study of dog and cat owners over the age of 55 found that those who have an animal companion tend to be happier, more successful, and exercise more.

Experts say the seemingly minor physical aspects of pet ownership, from taking walks to cleaning up after them, can go a long way – and, these bonds boost the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain, according to Daily Mail.

The study surveyed 1,000 dog and cat owners.

And, they found a number of trends among those with pets.

 Pet owners reported nearly twice as much exercise as those without, at five times per week versus three.

‘The many benefits of pet ownership also include the cardio-vascular exercise of dog-walking, and even the light housework associate with feeding and clearing up after our beloved animals,’ says psychologist and author Corinne Sweet.

Pet owners were also more likely to be married, have a child, and be happy with their job.

The surveyed revealed that those with pets befitted greatly from talking to their pets, and 16 percent even said that they wouldn’t ever speak to anyone if it wasn’t for their pet.

For many, this also did away with feelings of loneliness.

‘The psychological and emotional benefits of pet ownership are well-known among mental health professionals,’ Sweet said.

‘Having a close bond with a domestic animal can boost “feel food” biochemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin; which can make owners feel more relaxed, calmer and happier at home.

‘Owners may also talk to their furry friends and gain a friendly, comforting ear and warm welcome when they are feeling unwell, sad, or lonely.’