How Pets Help Our Mental Health

How Pets Help Our Mental Health

Kenzie Stambaugh, Writer

How many people do you know with a buddy not exactly human-like? Probably a majority of our population. Whether you have a cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, bird, reptile, or another friend; it’s no secret these guys give us a spark in our everyday lives. Here’s what you may want to know about your companions backed by science. 

While everyone enjoys snuggling with a furry friend, they also offer a lot of other benefits. Studies show that a human-animal bond reduces stress, anxiety, and depression and eases loneliness. Although most pet owners have cats and dogs, others prefer reptiles, birds, and other small animals. When around a pet, levels of serotonin (neurotransmitters associated with feelings of happiness, focus, and calm) increase. If you do have a cat, dog, or rabbit, cuddling your furry friends releases oxytocin, a hormone that releases feelings of happiness.

Not only do pets encourage stress-free emotions, but they also help with motivation. Let’s be real, we all have off days. Typically, dogs are top-tier companions for sensing those emotions. Dogs encourage more exercise, and for people who go on walks; your companion will thank you later. Pets teach us several important lessons, such as responsibility, compassion, loyalty, and how to love openly and fully. 

According to the Pet Health Council, kids with pets at an earlier age have better social skills and have higher self-esteem and more confidence as they talk to and confide in them in ways that they may not in human interaction. Most importantly, pets teach all ages to develop healthy coping skills and a sense of comfort and companionship. 

While we all have different preferences for our little buddies, they all serve us a wonderful purpose. Do you have a photo of your pet you want to share? Send it to us, along with its name and age, to [email protected].  After all, everyone loves some sort of companion. 

All information obtained from-,valuable%20companionship%20for%20older%20adults.