Owing to the inconclusive findings of research regarding the health benefits of pet ownership, we compared perceived health, stress, life satisfaction, happiness, and psychosomatic symptoms in dog owners and non-dog owners. As an attempt to overcome some earlier methodological issues, the sample consisted of 602 individuals from Mexico aged ≥18 years (377 dog owners and 225 non-dog owners). These 2 groups were equivalent in age, gender, educational level, marital status, employment, parental status, and the presence of chronic illness. The results indicated that, compared to non-dog owners, the dog owners' scores were significantly lower for psychosomatic symptoms and stress and were higher for general health, vitality, emotional role, absence of bodily pain, social functioning, and mental health. No significant difference between groups was found for life satisfaction, happiness, physical functioning, or physical role. Group differences might occur because individuals who perceive themselves to be healthier also choose to have a pet; nevertheless, 273 (72.6%) had owned a pet during the previous 5 years, and 86 (22.8% of the overall sample) reported that they had always owned dogs. In conclusion, the dog owners perceived themselves as healthier - but not happier - than non-dog owners.
|Publication Title||Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research|
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