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Why owning a pet is good for your health

Learn about all the ways owning a pet can help you enjoy life more.

WE ALL KNOW the age old adage that a man’s best friend is the humble domesticated dog.  

But what is it about them and other popular pets that carve out such a special place in our hearts? A survey conducted on behalf of Allianz Insurance found that 57% of the Irish population own a pet. Cats and dogs are most popular, but many pets are represented in homes around Ireland including various reptiles and birds. 

The love our pets have for us is unconditional, and that love is a source of comfort for a lot of people. As part of our Securing Your Future series with Allianz Insurance*, we found that 95% of respondents said that their pet was a good companion when feeling alone or isolated. 

Their simple presence in your life can be the source of unbridled joy. On days you feel down, having a four-legged friend or a scaly companion to greet you can turn your day on its head. Dogs make their love for you known by jumping and barking and wagging their tails in your presence, and even a cat may throw a cursory glance in your direction to let you know they care.

Shutterstock / Elena Sherengovskaya Shutterstock / Elena Sherengovskaya / Elena Sherengovskaya

If you’re curious to know why we love our pets so much, we’re on hand to highlight why owning a pet can be great for you. You’ll also have a chance to give your say on the issue with our slider questionnaire and see how your answers compare to others in the country.

Stress relievers

One big benefit of owning a pet that is well documented is their stress relieving qualities. A Special Health Report by Harvard’s Medical School stated that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, and in some cases, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people who don’t own a pet. This means that pets can help to reduce your chance of health problems later in life.

Simply interacting with pets, even if you don’t own one, can reduce the levels of cortisol in your body, which is a hormone related to stress. Next time you’re unwinding with your canine companion after work or watching your fish swim about their tank, remind yourself that you’re actively reducing the stress in your body! 



Do you believe your pet contributes to reducing your stress levels? Give your opinion on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “I agree 100%”.



Keeping active 

If you’re keen to start a fitness routine or do something to bring your activity levels up, a pet is a genius solution to achieving this goal. Dog owners can attest to the fact that they require a lot of walking – which means a lot of moving – perfect for those trying to get some extra steps in during the week. Indeed, 95% of respondents in our survey said they believed their pet positively contributed to their mental and physical health.

In a recent marketing campaign named “pawscription” conducted by Allianz Insurance to promote their pet insurance product, they referenced these outstanding statistics while suggesting that as an owner if you look after your pets health, they’ll look after yours.


A study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry, showed that those who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing, and lower rates of mental illness. The joy a dog shows at a prospect of a walk is infectious and knowing you’re making them happy makes you happy in return.

While walking your dog may seem like you’re doing them a favour at times, you benefit massively from the exercise too. Even running around after your pets or cleaning their cage or tank can help keep you busy and most importantly moving, which is a crucial element to staying fit and healthy.

Four-legged friends


If you lost your pet (though theft, death, or another instance), would you immediately replace the pet? Give your opinion on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “I agree 100%”.




Having a pet can be like having a best friend who never says no to hanging out with you (unless they’re a cat). Whether it’s going to the park for a runaround or heading to the shops with your pet cockatoo (we don’t judge), day-to-day life with your pet in tow makes everything easier to navigate and helps reduce loneliness.

Shutterstock / Anna Reznikov Shutterstock / Anna Reznikov / Anna Reznikov

Indeed, pets are often viewed as an extension of our family or friends, as we can form similar bonds by spending time together. In fact, they’re actually more often than not viewed as an extension of family by Irish people. A resounding 90% of pet owners surveyed as part of the Securing Your Future series with Allianz said they consider their pet to be another member of their family.

Whether that means your pets go on family holidays, are included in your will, or just simply get some cheeky extra pieces of grub from the kitchen table, it’s clear they’re key members of Irish families across the country. The results show the strong bonds we forge with our pets and how we want to make sure they’re kept as safe and healthy as possible.

Part of the furniture

Do you consider your pet as part of your family? Give your opinion on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “I agree 100%”.


Allianz plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria, terms & conditions apply.  

*Poll conducted for Allianz & TheJournal.ie by Ireland Thinks. Date of Survey: 20th to 24th February, 2023. Sample size: 1507  Margin of Error: +/- 2.6 per cent. 

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