ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (1): 142-149.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00142

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Nature of the Bond between Pets and Owners: A Psychological Analysis

ZHANG Maoyang1; PENG Xiaofan2; HU Chaobing1; ZHANG Xingyu3   

  1. (1 Key Applied Psychology Lab, Chongqing Normal University; Chongqing 401331, China) (2 School of Psychology, Southwest University; Chongqing 400715, China) (3 The Educational and Counselling Center of Psychological Health, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 401331, China)
  • Received:2013-12-02 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: HU Chaobing, E-mail:


As humans’ loyal friends, pets have a widely acknowledged positive effect on humans’ physical and mental health. The researches on pet personality have revealed that pets, rather than merely a kind of animal, were human-like companions who could interact with their owner like human friends. Pets are one part of the owners’ social support system, but they are neither compensation or competitor against human relationship. They function independently. The behavior evidence implied that the bond between pets and their owners is similar with the parental relationship, where pets elicited the parental behavior and the owners also benefit from caring the pets. This review revealed the limitation of former researches in sample selection and the lack of experimental evidence. Further researches should have more concern on the integrity of research samples, develop the behavioral experiment paradigm and introduce the neural cognition method to examine the inner mechanism by which pets affect the owners.

Key words: pet, physical and mental health, pet personality, social support