Associations between stress and quality of life: Differences between owners keeping a living dog or losing a dog by euthanasia Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives: The loss of a pet may be stressful to the owner. The main objectives of this study were to compare the levels of stress and to explore the correlates of QOL of healthy adults who currently own or who have just lost their dog. Methods: The study sample contained 110 current, and 103 bereaved dog owners, all females, who lost their dogs due to euthanasia. QOL was assessed with the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire and divided into four major domains-Physical, Psychological, Relationship, and Environmental. Demographic variables, stress, health behaviors, and social support from family, friends, and significant other were included in multivariate analysis. Results: Stress levels were significantly higher in bereaved owners. QOL in three of the four domains (Physical, Psychological, and Relationship) of current owners were significantly better than among bereaved owners. Stress was significantly associated with these three domains of QOL. Quality of life was found to be positively associated with social support. Age was related directly only to current owners' QOL. Conclusions: The results suggest that a loss of a dog is associated with stress for the bereaved owner and reduced physical, psychological, and relationship QOL. Lack of social support in the case of death of a companion animal has a strong effect on owners' grief reactions.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015