Perceived benefits and costs of owning a pet in a megapolis: An ecosystem services perspective

Anastasia Konstantinova*, Victor Matasov, Anna Filyushkina, Viacheslav Vasenev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ongoing urbanization has led to a significant increase in the number of pets and has altered the relationships between pets and owners from primarily utilitarian to cultural (e.g., entertainment and health improvement). Existing classifications of ecosystem services (ES) (e.g., CICES) and nature’s contributions to people (NCP) explicitly consider only the ES provided by livestock and wild animals. This study attempted to translate perceived benefits and costs from owning pets (dogs or cats) in a megapolis into ES and disservices frameworks. The data were collected via an online questionnaire distributed through social media among residents of Moscow (Russia). The study showed that pets contribute to the well-being of city dwellers, for which owners are willing to put up with some potential risks and also bear monetary costs. Reasons for owning a pet have been translated into ES and NCPs ranging from regulating (4%) to provisioning (1%). However, cultural services linked to mental (26%) and physical (32%) health, spiritual, symbolic interaction (19%), and educational values (16%) have been the most prominent group. Considering an increase in pet owners, the interests and needs of this distinct stakeholder group need to be taken into account in urban planning and management. Pets’ integration into classifications and thus assessments of the urban ES can be a crucial step towards achieving this goal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10596
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Early online date24 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The social survey and translation into the ecosystem services was supported by the Russian Science Foundation project under grant number 19-77-30012. Data processing and paper preparation were supported by the RUDN University Strategic Academic Leadership Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Disservices
  • domestic animals
  • NCP
  • Pets
  • Stakeholders
  • Urban planning


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