Study Shows People Find More Comfort in Their Pets Than Their Partners

Study Shows People Find More Comfort in Their Pets Than Their Partners
Woman with her dog enjoying a sunset

When seeking solace after a long day, do you turn to your romantic partner or your loyal pet for comfort? You’re not the only one if you prefer the companionship of a furry friend over a human one. In fact, a significant proportion of Brits – nearly half – find more comfort in their pets than their significant others. Moreover, a majority of 53% believe their pets are more empathetic than their partners.

A Petplan survey of 2,000 people reveals that an overwhelming 90% of Brits find the presence of their pets to be calming and therapeutic. While 58% of respondents rely on their pets for comfort during anxious moments, many also want them by their side during life’s most joyful occasions.

It’s no surprise, then, that over half of those surveyed want to share their happiest moments with their pets. This might explain the proliferation of heartwarming videos on social media, such as those featuring dogs as ring bearers at their owners’ weddings.

It comes as no surprise that dogs and puppies top the list of pets that provide emotional support, closely followed by cats and kittens. A significant 14% of respondents believe horses are also capable of offering solace, while a smaller but notable 6% of people find comfort in the companionship of snakes, tortoises, and lizards.

So, what is it about pets that makes them so effective therapeutic support systems? According to pet owners, it’s the little things that count – like their pets’ enthusiastic greetings, affectionate nuzzling, and comforting physical presence. Many also appreciate the way their pets stay by their side during times of illness or sadness, and the gentle touch of a paw on their skin.

The Mental Health Foundation suggests that pets can have a profound impact on our mental wellbeing and highly recommend emotional support animals to provide security and companionship that can help reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem. The unconditional love and acceptance they offer can be a powerful antidote to the stresses of everyday life.

Research has shown that simply interacting with animals can lower cortisol levels, a key indicator of stress. It’s little wonder, then, that emotional support dogs have been shown to have a calming effect on stressed university students, or that a 2021 study found that pets can play a vital role in maintaining mental health and wellbeing during periods of isolation.

Given the depth of emotional support they provide, it’s hardly surprising that 71% of survey respondents credited their pets with helping them through the toughest times in their lives. Indeed, over half of those surveyed considered their pet to be the most empathetic and understanding presence in their lives – a testament to the transformative power of animal love.

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