5 Ways Pets Support Mental Health

Owning and caring for your pet is one of the most fulfilling things in life. It comes with a lot of responsibility and commitment, but also with many great rewards. Among those rewards and benefits are the ways your pet can positively support your mental health.

Before getting a pet, make sure to consider that owning a living creature is a commitment that will last their entire lifetime. Always make sure that you are financially, physically, and mentally able to care for them. 

Pets Can Improve Mental Health

If you’re an animal lover, you already know there is nothing better than the unconditional love you receive from a pet. However, there are actual scientific ways that pets can improve your life, including your mental health. Pet ownership can alleviate anxiety and soothe day-to-day stress. 

1. Pets Can Boost Your Mood

The same chemical that gets released in your brain as when you fall in love, oxytocin, is released every time you look into your furry friend’s eyes. Oxytocin works in the body to elevate your mood and make you feel immediately happier, more empathetic, and connected to another living creature.

2. Pets Can Reduce Stress Levels

You already know that spending time with your pet can make you feel anxious, but did you know there is a scientific reason why? When you spend time with and care for your pet, your brain releases another chemical called cortisol. This chemical is also responsible for boosting your immune system and lowering stress.

Many people find working out of their home very stressful, especially if there are issues at work. Knowing you have a furry companion to come home to can really help. If you believe you have been sexually harassed at work, having a non-judgemental friend waiting at home can really help. 

3. Pets Provide Companionship

Even if you live alone, you will always have someone with you when you’re at home with your pet. People that own pets report less feelings of loneliness in comparison to those that don’t. Not only do pets give you companionship, but they also give that unconditional love that is so hard to find.

4. Owning a Pet Can Provide Feelings of Stability

When you own and care for your pet there are certain things you must do every day, such as sticking to a feeding schedule, grooming, providing exercise and more. These routines are especially good for your mental health and can alleviate feelings of depression.

Caring for a pet not only helps adults, but children can learn a better sense of responsibility when caring for a family pet. Having a dog or cat can really create healthy emotional bonds between other family members and an animal. It can also help when it comes to other human-to-human relationships in life.

5. Caring for a Pet Can Have Physical Benefits

Your mental and physical health is more intertwined than you may know. When your body is releasing healthy stress-relieving hormones, you’ll be more likely to feel better physically and want to get more exercise. Taking your dog for a walk every day can make you feel better and be calming to the mind. You will probably even sleep better.