Owning a pet is undoubtably a good idea. Pets can brighten even the darkest days and have been academically proven to help with the owners’ overall health, mental and physical. Getting a dog was one of the best decisions I have ever made and although it is admittedly hard sometimes, I do not regret it for one second.
UK pet insurance company Petplan decided to find out exactly how much happier pet owners are compared to the average person and whether location also impacts how happy pet owners are. Using AI tools, they analysed over 250,000 pictures, on Instagram and Google Images, of pets (dogs, cats and rabbits) and their owners from the OECD countries.
The research involved searching online for pictures of dog, cat and rabbit owners by using relevant hashtags and search queries, for example #dogowner on Instagram and “dog owner” on Google Images. For each OECD member, they found about 9,000 relevant pictures. The AI then scanned the pictures and detected levels of emotion on the owners’ faces, generating a score out of 100 for each detectable emotion ranging from happiness to fear and disgust.
1. Where do the happiest pet owners live?
Finding out where the happiest pet owners live was the first goal of the study. Using the scoring system described above, the results show that the happiest pet owners live in New Zealand, with an overall score of 88.4.
2. Which pets have the happiest owners?
Then Petplan wanted to see what difference the pet’s type makes on their owner’s emotions. To do this, they used a different AI tool to analyse the descriptions accompanying the pictures. The results showed that 71.4% of the Instagram pictures tagged with #rabbitowner had positive captions, while for dogs and cats, there were fewer positive descriptions.
2.1. Where do the happiest dog owners live?
Following in the previous results, they wanted to break down each pet and the country their owners live in. This showed that although Brazil came in second in the overall chart, it is the country where the happiest dog owners live.
2.2. Where do the happiest cat owners live?
For cat owners, the New Zealand still takes the lead, however, the happiness score is 89.4 for cat owners, while for pet owners in general it is a little lower, at just 88.4.
2.3. Where do the happiest rabbit owners live?
The research found that the happiest rabbit owners live in the Netherlands, although the country only comes in fourth on the overall list.
3. How much happier are dog owners than average people?
Maybe most importantly, Petplan wanted to see exactly how much happier pet owners are than the rest of the people. To do this, they used the same facial recognition AI to generate happiness score for pictures with #selfie in each country. The average happiness score for selfies was then compared with the average score for pet pictures which showed that on average pet owners are 108.3% happier than the rest of the people, Belgium taking the lead with a 172.8% difference.