To land on such findings, researchers conducted two experiments. The first was of 159 pet owners who were asked the last time they spent a modest amount of money (around $5) on themselves, someone else, or their pet, and had to recall their mood at the time of gifting. Surprisingly, people reported being the happiest when they gifted something to their pet. In another study of 188 pet owners, all of whom were given $5 and assigned instructions on how to spend it : on themselves, someone else, or their pet. Those who spent the money on themselves typically bought food, while those who spent it on others typically made donations or bought them sweets, while those who bought something for their pets often purchased some kind of toy or treats.
The survey found that immediately following the purchases, people spending money on their pets felt happier than those who spent money on themselves or others. So, not only does retail therapy do wonders for our mood, but doing retail therapy with our pets in mind is an even bigger mood boost than expected.