Do Pets Make Us Happy?

Almost 60% of U.S. households have at least one resident dog or cat, reports The Washington Post. Do our pets make us happy, though? The General Social Survey asked questions related to that in 2018. The results may be surprising to dog and cat owners.

Dogs and cats don’t necessarily make us happier, for one thing. The survey found that among pet owners, slightly more than 30% in both groups identified themselves as “very happy,” while the number describing themselves as “Not too happy” was in the mid-teens for both groups.

However, dog owners are about twice as likely to say they’re very happy than cat owners, making dog owners slightly happier than people without any pets. People who are owned by a cat understand that the cat is not-so-secretly in charge and are generally very happy with that situation. All jokes aside, people owning both dogs and cats tend to fall in between the two camps, enjoying the benefit of both pets.

What creates the difference? The General Social Survey notes that dog owners tend to be older, married and own their own homes, which can contribute to overall happiness and satisfaction with life in general.

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