Mind & Body

OMG so buying your dog a gift may actually improve your mood

We all know the meaning of retail therapy. But new research shows that even an inexpensive gift to your pet may do more to boost your mood than buying something for yourself.

If you own a dog, chances are you’ll be very familiar with the idea that they’re not just a pet, they’re a part of the family. Particularly after a year of lockdowns, our pets have become an important part of our mental health, offering unconditional companionship and purpose.

And as turns out, if you’re feeling a little down, buying even an inexpensive gift for your dog may help improve your mood.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that spending money on others has more of a positive impact on a feeling of wellbeing than spending money on yourself.

Following on from this study, a team of business academics from Columbia University wondered if that same increase in happiness extended to buying a gift for your dog. And it does, significantly.

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Researchers conducted two experiments. The first was of 159 pet owners who were asked the last time they spent a modest amount of money (around $5) on themselves, someone else, or their pet, and had to recall their mood at the time of gifting.

People reported being happiest when they gifted something to their pet.

The second study involved 188 pet owners, all of whom were given $5 and assigned instructions on how to spend it: on themselves, someone else, or their pet.

Those who spent the money on themselves typically bought food; the ones who spent it on someone else typically made donations or bought them sweets; while those who spent money on their pets typically purchased new toys or treats.

A survey of the participants immediately following the purchases found that not only did the people spending money on their pets feel happier than those who spent the money on themselves, but they also found they were happier than those who spent the money on another person.

So, there you have it. Next time you’re feeling a little blue, consider gifting your pet a thank you present for all the times they’ve been there for you. Even when you don’t ask them to be.