Why dog owners are happier than cat owners
Do dogs make better pets than cats? A recent poll might have ended this classic debate, with the answer being in favour of the canine.
The latest General Social Survey found that dog owners are twice as likely as cat owners to report a high level of happiness. 36 per cent of dog people describe themselves as “very happy”, while only 18 per cent of those with a cat say the same.
Dog owners are also slightly happier than those without any pets, while cat people are significantly less happier than non-pet owners.
Having both a cat and a dog seems to provide a middle ground, with 28 per cent of those who own the two animals reporting that they are very happy.
Why are dog owners happier? A previous study suggests that dog owners tend to be more extroverted and less neurotic than cat owners.
Dogs may also encourage their owners to spend more time outdoors and do more physical activity. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health discovered that dog owners are more active during days of bad weather than non-dog owners during sunny and warm days.
Spending time on walkies also bring a lot of indirect benefits to health and wellbeing. Dog owners not only have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but they are also more likely to interact and form relationships with their neighbours, promoting their social connectedness and reducing loneliness.
On the other hand, it is not as customary to walk cats out in the open, reducing the opportunity for cat owners to reap these benefits.