MOST Queenslanders believe their pets are the key to their happiness, with dogs and cats becoming replacement children for couples without kids, a new study has revealed.
The Study of Pet Companionship found people without children placed the greatest emphasis on their pets, with 81% of single Queenslanders without children rating their pets as crucial to their happiness.
Only 59% of couples with children shared the view, and 67% of married respondents.
Yamanto pet owner Jason Boseley said his two dogs and two cats were definitely part of the family.
He and his wife don't have kids, but Mr Boseley said looking after huskies Codee and Bandit, as well as two cats, was a big but very fulfilling job.
"They're all great pets and they're our life," Mr Boseley said.
Mr Boseley began working night shifts after his dog became unwell and underwent surgery.
"After the knee operation I decided it'd be better for me to be around in the day while my wife was at work, and then she'd look after the dog during the night," he said.
Human-companion animal relationships expert Associate Professor Pauleen Bennett, from the La Trobe University School of Psychological Science, said pets provided reliable and unconditional companionship.
Ms Bennett said pets often helped to improve people's psychological and physical wellbeing.
"Not only do they provide unconditional love and companionship, they boost our happiness," Ms Bennett said.