Dog owners are happier than those without a pooch.

Dog owners are happier than those without a canine

Dog owners are happier than those without a canine

Research has found that those with a four-legged friend have more "meaningful" interactions, one-to-one encounters, that boost their overall mood, than those who do not own a pet.

The findings also revealed that dog owners benefit from walking their canine companions as 31 per cent feel less lonely as a result.

James Loder, from More Than Insurance - which commissioned the study with the charity Dogs for Good - said: "The physical and mental benefits of dog ownership speak for themselves.

"Dog owners have more opportunities for social interaction and our research shows we also make far more meaningful connections thanks to our four-legged friends.

"We want to shine a spotlight on our relationship with dogs so that more people can benefit from this, particularly those with disabilities whose lives can be impacted even more substantially by establishing a strong relationship with dogs and fully harnessing the benefits they can bring."