They also reported negative aspects of pet ownership like being worried about their pet’s well-being and having their pets interfere with working remotely.
Rethinking Beyond Fur and Feathers
However, when their happiness was compared to nonpet owners, the data showed no difference in the well-being of pet owners and nonpet owners over time.
The researchers found that it did not matter what type of pet was owned, how many pets were owned, or how close they were with their pet. The personalities of the owners were not a factor.
“People say that pets make them happy, but when we measure happiness, that doesn’t appear to be the case,” said William Chopik, an associate professor in MSU’s Department of Psychology and co-author of the study.
“People see friends as lonely or wanting companionship, and they recommend getting a pet. But it’s unlikely it’ll be as transformative as people think.”
The researchers explored several reasons why there is no difference between the well-being of pet owners and non-pet owners. One of them is that non-pet owners may have filled their lives with a variety of other things that make them happy.
“Staking all of your hope on a pet making you feel better is probably unfair and is costly given other things you could do in your life that could improve your happiness,” added Chopik.
- The Perks of Pet Ownership? The Effects of Pet Ownership on Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic