Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level



Animal Science


Whitehead, Isabel

Committee Member/Reader

Miller, Jefferson

Committee Member/Second Reader

Jogan, Kathi


The number of individuals acquiring pets is continually increasing, with 71.5% of Americans owning a pet in 2012. Companion animals are a huge source of benefits but owning them can also come with several stressors. However, little research has been conducted on the negative aspects of dog ownership. This pilot test evaluates the perceived stressors and benefits of sole dog ownership in full-time college students. The pilot aimed to hold three focus groups from which qualitative thematic data were collected and quantitative were collected from a demographic survey of participants. Participants were asked a series of questions about sole dog ownership such as their dog’s behavior, monthly expenses, daily time commitment, etc. Participants referenced four common themes under perceived benefits (developed responsibility, physical health, emotional support, and sense of pride) and three common themes under perceived stressors (traveling, commitment, behavior). This pilot can be adapted and expanded on to conduct qualitative research in the future on the benefits and stressors of dog ownership. In addition, data from this pilot test could be combined with future data to inform potential pet owners of all the areas associated with ownership, to enhance the decision-making process.


animal science, pilot study, college students, benefits of dog ownership, stressors of dog ownership