PETS can make you happier than a partner and even reduce your stress levels, a survey has found.

National pet charity Blue Cross has released data highlighting the importance of pets in their owners’ lives and how their presence can have a positive effect on their wellbeing and relationships.

One in three owners said their pets made them smile more than their partners, while 32 per cent thought their pet was better at making them feel less stressed.

The survey even revealed that 13 per cent of pet owners admitted their pet had stopped rows with a partner.

Diane James, Pet Bereavement Support service manager at Blue Cross, said the service often received calls from owners seeking advice after a relationship break down, as losing a pet in this way can provide the same grief and confusion as mourning their death.

She said: “Just the comforting patter of paws in a home can make us feel safe, secure and loved – exactly what kind of emotions are conjured up on Valentine’s Day.

“Pets can help us in so many ways from calming and supporting us to comforting us and making us smile and laugh.

“They really are part of the family.”

Blue Cross’s Pet Bereavement Support Service is part of a range of services run by the pet charity and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The service, which runs 365 days a year, provides support through a confidential telephone helpline and email service.

Last year the PBSS team took more than 10,000 calls and answered over 5,000 emails.

The survey of nearly 1,300 pet owners was commissioned by Blue Cross in January last year to highlight the importance of pets in our lives.

More than a quarter of owners said they thought their pet was better at comforting them than a partner, while 20 per cent said they thought their pet was a better listener.

A total of 21 per cent of people agreed that their pet had led them to spend more time with their partner.