In the News: Feeling lonely? A Dog May Help!

In the News: Feeling lonely? A Dog May Help!

Dog and Dog Owner

Ask most pet owners, and they’ll tell you all the wonderful joys that come with having a dog, cat, or other beloved animal in their lives. By most accounts, pets make individuals and families happier, less stressed, and most importantly, less lonely. 

Generally speaking, however, these assertions have been simply that — assertions by happy pet owners, content with the choice they’d made to bring a loving animal into their lives.

Now, it turns out the scientific research is backing up these assertions as well.

The PAWS Trial: Measuring How Dogs Affect Our Loneliness

A recent study at The University of Sydney called The PAWS Trial measured the mental well-being 71 adults from Sydney, Australia, who were divided into three groups. 

The first group bought a dog during the study. The second group did not buy a dog during the study but had considered getting a dog and were interested in pet ownership. The final group did not want to get a dog and did not get one during the study.

From there, all three groups’ stress and loneliness levels were measured at three specific and crucial time periods of dog ownership (or non-ownership):

  • Pre-dog (before getting a dog)
  • Post-dog (three months into dog ownership)
  • Post-dog (eight months into dog ownership)

The Results

Right off the bat, the study revealed that new dog owners were less lonely after welcoming dogs into their homes. This was apparent even within three months, and their loneliness levels did not go back down as they approached the eight-month mark either. Stress levels, nervousness, and overall distress also went down in dog owners.

Are You Considering Dog Ownership?

If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, this is a great decision! Of course, it’s also a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

While dogs certainly have the power to enrich and enhance our lives, they do come with a lot of responsibilities as well — the first of which is to make a new pet checkup appointment at Sunset Veterinary Clinic. We’ll take a look at your new pup as soon as you have them and make sure they’re happy, healthy, and all caught up on their vaccines and other health milestones. Already have your new dog at home? Contact us today to book their new pet appointment! 

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