How Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

by Staff

Humans and animals share a powerful bond. Anyone who has had a pet in their life knows the presence they can have, especially in times of need.

We’ll discuss how caring for a dog, cat, or other animals can help alleviate our anxiety and depression, improve heart health, and reduce stress.


When you feel isolated and need support, pets are always on your side. Living with an animal means you’ll never be alone while at home.

If you suffer from symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobia, or mood disorders, you may consider getting an emotional support animal. They are an animal companion that provides support to help relieve at least one person’s mental health symptoms.

Just petting an animal can elevate your mood and provide a relaxing response. All you need is an emotional support animal letter written by a licensed mental health practitioner. This letter indicates that the pet is there to help with your disability and, therefore, you’re entitled to certain rights. This includes receiving housing opportunities without being discriminated against for having a companion animal.

Sense of Purpose

Pets can provide a sense of purpose, relieving the hopelessness of depressive episodes. Caring for an animal gives you a reason to wake up and want to be better so your pet is properly cared for. Raising a pet means you have to adhere to a set routine and structure for the pet’s sake, which is beneficial for the owner.

Mood Booster 

From “runner’s high” to “love hormone,” animals can impact our biology. Dogs are sensitive to their owner’s gazes resulting in a closer relationship with their owners. Even petting animals can help release feel-good neurochemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin. These are neurotransmitters that most antidepressants try to increase.

Seeing the happy-go-lucky smiles on our pet’s faces is contagious and rubs off on our moods. It’s hard not to feel happy when a pooch smothers you with attention every time you come home.

Healthy Routines 

Pets love to play and interact with humans, especially active-breed dogs. Dogs require at least 30 to 60 minutes of walking daily, usually spread out among two to three walks. Add a game of fetch on the lawn, and you’ll quickly boost your fitness.

Walking your pet doesn’t just have physical benefits. Walking outside exposes you to sunlight and vitamin D, elevating your mood and sleep quality.

Stress Alleviation

There’s a reason why pet therapy has become increasingly popular. Studies found that therapy dogs can decrease feelings of anxiety, stress, and loneliness. Pet therapy can be especially beneficial for those who may suffer from mental health disorders due to external circumstances like people undergoing chemotherapy, veterans with PTSD, people hospitalized, or residents in long-term care facilities.

Wrapping It Up

When struggling with emotional or mental problems, our pets can provide us with solace. The responsibility of caring for a pet isn’t a chore. Instead, it’s a soothing routine that helps people organize their day and receive lots of love and companionship.

About the Author/s

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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