Aspects of health, physical/leisure activities, work and socio-demographics associated with pet ownership in Sweden

Scand J Public Health. 2010 Feb;38(1):53-63. doi: 10.1177/1403494809344358. Epub 2009 Aug 28.


Aims: The aim of the work presented here was to explore differences between pet owners and non-pet-owners concerning aspects of health, physical/leisure activities, work and socio-demographics.

Methods: The study was based on nationally representative data from the Swedish population (n = 43,589). Associations between pet ownership and background variables were investigated using logistic regression analysis.

Results: A total of 39,995 respondents were included in the analysis (non-pet-owners = 25,006; pet owners = 14,989). Pet ownership was associated with both positive and negative aspects of health, physical/leisure activities and socio-demographics. Pet owners had better general health but suffered more from mental health problems than non-pet-owners. Their leisure activities involved a greater interest in nature life and/or gardening than those of non-pet-owners. The logistic regression analysis showed that people who were self-employed, in the age range 35 to 49, of female sex, and suffering from pain in the head, neck and shoulders were more likely to own a pet than others. People physically active at a level sufficient to have a positive effect on their health more often owned a pet than people who were less active.

Conclusions: Pet owners differ from non-pet-owners in aspects of socio-demographics, health, physical/leisure activities and work situation. This study, based on a general regional population in Sweden, showed differences of both a positive and a negative kind between non-pet-owners and pet owners concerning aspects of health, physical and leisure activities, and work situation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Human-Animal Bond*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Work*