THREE quarters of pet owners in the UK are claiming their furry friend has improved their quality of life.

A recent survey has revealed that 77 per cent of owners say their animals have made their life better.

In the survey of 2,000 pet owners, 60 per cent claim their animals have helped improve their mental health.

Additionally, 37 per cent said the presence of an animal makes them feel calm, and one third feel noticeably less stressed.

Four in five pet owners who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition say their animal has helped them tackle their illness, according to new research from MORE TH>N pet insurance.

Comparing our relationship with pets to those with other people, a significant proportion said their animals provide them with more emotional support than their friends and family.

Within this, female pet owners said they received more emotional support from their pets than friends at 47 per cent or family at 38 per cent compared to male pet owners at 40 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.

Qualified vet and Director of Pet Claims at MORE TH>N, Andrew Moore said: “Cats and dogs provide comfort and support throughout their lives.

"Pets can even sometimes be better at responding to human emotions than other humans, and they provide unconditional love and companionship.

"With everything our pets do for us, we should return the favour by keeping them happy and healthy.”

A total of 93 per cent said they talk to their pets, providing therapeutic benefits for many.

When asked how talking to their pet makes them feel, 46 per cent said it made them happy, more than a quarter said it made them feel more calm and 13 per cent said it reduced stress.

Some pet owners even brought their cats or dogs into their lives specifically to boost their mental health or to combat loneliness.

Looking at how pets benefit the younger generation, 59 per cent of parents claim that having a pet has had a positive impact on their child’s overall development.

Almost half agreed that it has helped improve their child’s social skills and 38 per cent said that owning a pet has helped their child manage their anxiety.