Study: Pet owners have more stress

Representative study by DA Direkt in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Andrea Beetz, psychologist and human-animal relationship researcher.

Frankfurt am Main. Pet owners feel stressed more often than people without pets. 34 percent of pet owners, but only 28 percent of Germans without pets, complain about high levels of stress. Nevertheless, almost three quarters (71%) of pet owners are convinced that this can reduce stress in everyday life. This is the result of the current human-pet study by the direct insurer DA Direkt.

Are pets not the stress relief they are often thought to be? There is no general answer to this question, says Prof. Dr. Andrea Beetz, psychologist and human-animal relationship researcher: “Anyone who decides to have a pet for the wrong reasons or cannot ensure species-appropriate husbandry will experience animal ownership primarily as a stress factor.” More and more overloaded animal shelters are evidence of ill-considered pet purchases. According to the German Animal Welfare Association, two thirds of all animal shelters in Germany have an admission ban.

At 68 percent, the proportion of those who say they spend a lot of time with their pets is roughly on a par with those who experience keeping animals as a way to reduce stress. 63 percent of pet owners actually feel happier since their animal roommate moved in. “The results clearly show that active relationship work with pets is an investment that also pays off for people. In order for animal husbandry to be successful, both sides have to do well,” explains Prof. Dr. Beetz.

What pet owners find particularly stressful is the time required and raising the pet. Dog owners, for example, often fall short of their own expectations. Almost a quarter of them feel guilty because they can no longer spend time with their dog. 37 percent spend less than two hours of active activity with their four-legged friend every day, including walking them.

Before deciding on a pet, you should carefully weigh up your own life situation and the needs of the desired animal. The choice may then be to choose a different animal or not to get a pet. “Above all, you should be clear about the responsibility that a pet brings with it in the long term and what costs will arise in the future, for example through dog tax or necessary veterinary visits. At least the financial stress factor can be prevented with good animal health and dog owner liability insurance,” says Christian Brodhun, animal health insurance expert at DA Direkt.

About the DA Direkt human-pet study
On behalf of DA Direkt, the market research company infas quo surveyed 2,105 people between the ages of 18 and 79 according to gender and federal state. The survey was conducted in March 2024 via panel-based online interviews (CAWI) carried out.