Mental Health Benefits for Owning a Pet

Mental Health Benefits for Owning a Pet

Having pets around the house is fun, right? Some people just can’t live without them. The most common pets are cats and dogs which keep us company and give us comfort even when the whole world seems to be against us and cats whose flippant nature makes their love all the more valuable. Though some people find pets a big responsibility, they are really worth all the hustle. Here are some health benefits that come with owning a pet.

Pets May Help Build New Relationships

When walking your dog along the park or on the road, you get to meet new people along the way. You will also get the chance to talk and interact with other dog owners. When talking to other people you always have an easy and often relatable topic of talking about your pet. If you have guests your pet can make the perfect ice-breaker. Creating relationships is both valuable and hard so any help is appreciated.

You Get to Exercise

Walking your dog or playing around with an active cat keeps you physically active. Physical activity is important in a person’s mental health because it reduces stress and chances of depression. People who often walk their dogs have lower body weight and are less likely to visit the doctor. They are also more confident about themselves and about getting outside.

They Are a Source of Companionship

Pets are usually around you most of the time, therefore, they offer companionship to their owners. During those lonely moments, you can talk to your pet and tell them exactly how you feel without fear of being judged. Even if they don’t say anything, you feel relieved. Some people cuddle their pets whenever they feel lonely and it is proven to actually help.

The notion of having someone who truly cares for you, even if it’s an animal can do wonders for your mental health. Such issues as depression and social anxiety thrive on the constant feeling of loneliness – the feeling that is greatly reduced by having a pet.

Reduces Stress

According to a research carried out by Buffalo University in New York, people with pets reacted less when faced with stressful situations. They also recover faster whenever they are stressed. The stress may be as a result of the job that you have. Pets are a great source of distraction and you will tend to forget what you were going through when your cat or dog plays with you.

Pets Are Good Listeners

Dogs, for example, can be trained to take and follow instructions. This means that they understand you. They have also been proven to have feelings, and they also understand the different moods shown by humans. Even if they don’t understand the specific meaning of most words and situations, they do understand the emotions you put in those words. If you are not a fan of keeping journals, your pet might be your solution. Pour out your heart to them. Tell them all the problems you are going through, what you are feeling and simply hug it out. This greatly relieves stress.

Mental Health Benefits for Owning a Pet

They Can Help to Manage Long-Term Mental Issues

People with mental health issues are usually advised to keep pets. They are a nice way to manage mental issues especially the long-term ones. They distract them from some of the symptoms that may trigger a crisis. They also offer comfort as people with mental issues often feel like lesser humans. Pets give them unconditional love and support which help in avoiding any future crisis.

They Offer Unconditional Love

Animals operate on a simpler level than humans do, and as such don’t have complex multi-layered feelings about us. When your pet loves you, it loves you without citations. That is especially true of dogs – if they have a loving owner then a dog will regard them as the greatest being in the world, no matter what. There are numerous stories of dogs and other pets fearlessly putting their life on the line for their owner without a second thought.

Easier to understand than people, pets will not turn on you or “betray” you unless you something explicitly bad to them – but even then it’s not hard to win back their affection as their love doesn’t really ever go away. This straightforward relationship is a great way for some people to deal with their anxiety about social interactions.

Pets Keep Us Calm

Petting and playing with your dog or a cat, looking at the joyful antics of your hamster, or observing the chaotic movements of fish in an aquarium –  all these things have been proven to help people calm down and reduce the general anxiety levels. There is a reason some people with mental health issues use the help of emotional support animals to live better lives.

Pets, just like children, give us a sense of responsibility where we get a schedule which includes, feeding, cleaning, medical checkups or even pet-related hobbies. These activities help to keep you busy doing meaningful things and as such reduce the time you feel like you’re just wasting your life.


Research has shown that people who own pets are more satisfied with life. Therefore, if you’re thinking about getting yourself a pet, it is definitely a good idea. It not only helps you as an adult but also your children. Kids who have pets are seen to be more organized as compared to those that don’t.

If you don’t have a pet yet, have you been inspired to get one by our article?

Mental Health Benefits for Owning a Pet

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— About the Author —

Christina Battons