There’s no doubt that people love their dogs, but are dog owners happier than others? According to a new artificial intelligence study, yes! Researchers with the insurance company PetPlan conducted a global analysis to determine if dog owners are happier than other people. They concluded that pet ownership in general brings up a person’s overall happiness score by over 22%.
The PetPlan Happiness Study
The pet insurance study used AI facial recognition software to examine selfies of pet owners on Instagram and Google Images. The collected data was used to determine whether pet companionship made people happier.
Researchers in this study specifically looked at dog, cat, and rabbit ownership, finding photos using hashtags like #DogOwner. Each face was scored on an emotion level of 0 to 100. The average happiness rating of selfies is 36.8%. The average happiness rating of pet owners’ selfies is 59.3%.
Of course, this study only looked at dog owners who posted selfies on social media, but the results do indicate that our canine companions make us happier. While this study only looked at subjective happiness measures, there are actual health benefits that dogs can provide.
The Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Owning a dog has been shown to have numerous health benefits. Dogs lower overall stress levels for both adults and children. Children with dogs have a decreased risk of asthma, and dog ownership has been linked with lower blood pressure.
The Journal of Physical Activity and Health published a recent study showing that dog owners are more active than other individuals. On average, they take 2,760 more steps per day than non-dog-owners, which equals an additional 23 minutes per day of physical activity.
Happiness is a subjective measurement, but it does seem that dog ownership makes people happier. On a more objective scale, dog ownership can make people healthier. There are numerous physical, emotional, and social benefits to owning a pet at all stages of one’s lifespan. However, dog ownership requires a serious commitment and shouldn’t be taken on lightly. It is simply that those who are willing to take on the responsibility can reap numerous benefits from doing so.