Source: Daily Mail (Extract)
Posted: November 03, 2023

Is a dog or a cat actually man’s best friend when it comes to happiness?

Well, researchers have sought to discover just that and it turns out that canine owners tend to be more content than feline pet parents.

According to a recent analysis by Psychology Today of a 2020 Frontiers in Psychology study, a dog’s way of living influences their owners to have healthier habits, which become a domino effect for their well-being.

Parents of canines tend to be more active and social, unlike cat owners, which leads to an increase of joy and confidence for them.

It was found that dog owners often had higher self-esteems than people who didn’t have pets.

Having a dog increases physical activity, since pups themselves need daily exercise due to their seemingly endless energy supply.

Another study by PLOS ONE in 2019 discovered that a pet parent’s mental health and well-being was improved because canines motivated their owners to get regular exercise.

Additionally it was observed that most canine parents often socialized with others, and the social bonds provided positivity and a sense of belonging.

Dogs also sway their owners to get outside, which provides a boost of vitamin D.

A cat’s independence leads the feline to remain inside and closed off, therefore, the pets don’t inspire physical activity or socializing in the way that dogs do, which in turn influences their owner.

Dog and cat owners have also major differences when it comes to their personality traits, according to a study by Taylor & Francis Online.

Canine owners are more agreeable and extroverted, which is a sign of a person’s well-being.

On the other hand, cat people tend to be more neurotic and introverted.

In the Frontiers in Psychology study from 2020, it was reported that canines helped ‘dog dads’ experience an increase in confidence – due to perceiving themselves as a pack or leader.

They also got a lot of compliments about their dog, which provided a boost for them as well.

On the other hand, cat parents have lower self-esteems when compared to non-owners.

Feline owners who are women often get the negative connotation of being an ‘old maid’ or ‘cat lady.’

These stereotypes could cause a ‘sense of disconnect from society’ for women.

This isn’t the first time that the link between happiness and being a pet parent has been studied.

In 2018 a survey came out by the US General Social Survey in which people were asked if they were ‘very happy.’

In that focus group of the people who agreed that they were ‘very happy,’ 36 per cent were dog owners and only 18 per cent were cat owners.