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Benefits of dog ownership: comparative study of equivalent samples

By M. T. Gonzalez Ramirez, R. Landero Hernandez

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Abstract

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
Volume 9
Issue 6
Pages 311-315
ISBN/ISSN 1558-7878
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.08.002
Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. APEC countries
  4. Canidae
  5. Canine
  6. Carnivores
  7. Countries
  8. Developing countries
  9. Diseases and injuries of animals
  10. Dogs
  11. Emotions
  12. Health
  13. Human behavior
  14. Humans
  15. Latin America
  16. Mammals
  17. Men
  18. Mental disorders
  19. Mexico
  20. North America
  21. OECD countries
  22. Pain
  23. peer-reviewed
  24. Pets and companion animals
  25. Primates
  26. psychoses
  27. Relationships
  28. Science
  29. Social psychology and social anthropology
  30. Symptoms
  31. Threshold Countries
  32. United States of America
  33. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed