According to a recent study by the General Social Survey (GSS), managed by the social research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, 36 percent of dog owners are reportedly “very happy” compared to just 18 percent of cat owners.
More happiness is not the only thing that distinguishes dog owners from cat owners. The survey also shows that dog owners are more likely to be married and homeowners than those who have cats, both of which are considered factors that contribute to life satisfaction.
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The GSS has been collecting data on the outlook, behavior and general characteristics of Americans since 1972, studying everything from the marijuana habits to the relationship statuses of those surveyed. Sample sizes for studies fluctuate each year but usually range from 1,500 to 3,000 adults. The most recent survey, which contrasted dog and cat owners, was conducted between April and November of 2018.
This, however, is not the first study to examine the advantages of owning a dog compared to a cat. A recent survey of 2,000 adults revealed that dog owners usually walk an average of 870 miles a year and are therefore generally more fit than non-dog owners. They also exhibit superior levels of mental health and lower stress levels.
Meanwhile, a 2016 study found that dog owners scored higher in all areas of wellbeing compared to those who own cats. Yet not all is lost for cat owners. Pet owners in general benefit from improved mental and physical health, regardless of the type of pet.
A 2018 survey of 1,000 dog and cat owners over the age of 55 revealed that pet owners are usually more satisfied with their jobs while nearly half revealed they never felt lonely as a result of having a pet. Other research shows that owning a pet can result in enhanced cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure, and that simply bonding with a pet can lessen symptoms of depression.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 68 percent of US households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, as shown by the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey carried out by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This is up from 56 percent of US households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.
Therefore, if you own a pet, congratulations. If not, consider visiting your local shelter and adopting one of the estimated 6.5 million animals available for adoption in the US.