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The 'pawsitive' impact of pet ownership

The latest news from Cafestudy

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-.

Comments 8

  • 20th Jul 2024 12:34pm

Pets bring families together. They are also a way of interacting with others while walking (partic dogs). They encourage activity, walking, playing and friendship. A pet is so good for people's mental health and is rewarding and fulfilling

  • 31st May 2024 04:28pm

My pets x 4 have helped me through losing my dad last year tragically and through many of life's hurdles, they don't expect anything but love, food and shelter yet give you so much in return. I wouldn't have survived the last year without them.

  • 23rd Apr 2024 11:21am

The say that patting an animal helps people relax and become calmer, so is good for our health, owning a pet.

  • 17th Apr 2024 07:39pm

dogs are either work companions, or family members, they should never be regarded as "pets". they can form bonds with people that few other animals can.

  • 8th Apr 2024 04:48pm

I love everything about being a pet owner, it works wonders for my physical health and it also helps to improve my mental well-being.
When you have a pet you get an automatic 'cheer me up' as my pets act like therapy when I’m upset or just need to chill out from a stressful day.
I love my pets as they help keep me grounded. . . there’s something about having a pet and growing with pets that helps to settle my soul and helps me feel alive inside.

  • 13th Mar 2024 09:56pm

Our dogs are certainly part of the family. They are smiling little cuddle bunnies. Full of joy and give us plenty of love!

They each have their own personalities and for the most part the good outweighs the bad. After all there is a lot of maintenance and upkeep that often falls to myself.

  • 27th Feb 2024 04:33pm

I'm not in that majority. For me, animals mean work and more responsibility than I already have. I don't want to look after a dependent pet (the mess, smell, costs) and I am not a person to want or need comfort from an animal. I'm not looking for an emotional connection with an animal.

  • 15th Jan 2024 11:22pm

My cats might not love it, but outside, they were invasive alien predators disrupting the local ecosystem.

It's either snuggles and toys and treats and play together and beds in every window, or it's the gross stainless steel box at the pound and a needle when it gets overcrowded. I can't really handle the second option. So they get to be my hairy roommates instead.