The 'pawsitive' impact of pet ownership
Posted by: Caféstudy
12th Jan 2024 10:46am
We surveyed our Cafestudy members to explore the advantages of pet ownership, where hundreds of Australians emphasised the significant positive impact pets have on their lives. Whether it's a cat, dog, rabbit, or fish, pets seem to play a pivotal role in enhancing our emotional, physical, and social well-being in a unique and multi-faceted way that goes beyond the conventional definition of ownership.
One of the most noteworthy benefits of owning a pet is the emotional support and comfort they provide. Our members expressed gratitude for the enriching companionship that pets offer during difficult times of grief, loneliness, and when dealing with mental health issues.
"My pet is my life; without him, I would have nothing to live for. He keeps me getting up each day, walking him, and showing love to me."
"A furry friend... Someone to love and snuggle with! A companion who is loyal and not judgmental; I love my kitties to absolute bits!"
"My dog is my emotional support companion as I suffer from PTSD. If I am having a disturbed sleep, he will put his paw on my arm and wake me, sitting there watching over me till I drift off to sleep again. He is simply amazing and has not been taught to do this; he just knows what to do."
The social benefits of pet ownership are another key point that emerges from our research, with many responses emphasising the role pets play in fostering social interaction and creating shared experiences of nostalgia.
"Pets bring families closer! Pets bring love and interaction to those who may not be receiving this elsewhere."
"Pets are always there for you and create great memories... what fun it was to have them, take them for walks, or remember the quirky things they do."
"They are great to keep you on top of exercise and, in the case of a dog, open up the social circle. It’s amazing how many people I have been able to connect with in my local community - who don’t have a pet - simply by taking our dog for a walk."
The benefits of ownership extend into the physical dimensions of health and well-being, as many Australians connect their pets' presence to increased exercise and outdoor activities.
"The good thing about owning dogs is that I have inspiration to go walking with them. It helps us both in regards to fitness and mental well-being."
"Companionship and having a pet stop boredom, and if the person has a dog, they can get out in the fresh air taking their pet for a walk while getting their exercise too."
The subjective accounts of the physical health benefits that pets bring to Australian lives are supported in a recent journal article examining the correlations between pet ownership and mental and physical health. The meta-analysis by Albright et al. (2022), found that pets have a "moderately significant positive effect on the physical activity of owners compared to non-pet owners" and indicated that pet-owners had an increased frequency of physical activity.
Ultimately, it’s clear that beyond being mere companions, pets emerge as our emotional anchors, providing unwavering support during life's ups and downs. They're not just furry friends; they're lifelines, infusing Australian lives with purpose and love. From strengthening family bonds to expanding social circles, pets leave lasting imprints on our hearts. So, here's to the 'pawsitive' impact of our beloved companions - keeping us active, lifting our spirits, and turning life's ordinary moments into an extraordinary symphony of love, laughter, and endless tail wags.
Albright, AE, Cui, R & Allen, RS 2022, 'Pet Ownership and Mental and Physical Health in Older White and Black Males and Females', International journal of environmental research and public health, vol. 19, no. 9, pp. 5655-.