How Pets Can Support Our Mental Health

If you have a pet in your life, you know how furry friends can provide unconditional love and support. Spending time with domestic animals has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain for people. Below, find more about how spending time with pets can help those with mental health conditions.

How Pets Can Help with Depression, Mood and Mindfulness

“Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and improve your all-around health. For example, people with dogs have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease—just playing with dogs has been shown to elevate oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet….” More on how dogs can help with depression….

“Humans interacting with animals have found that petting the animal promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin- all hormones that can play a part in elevating moods….” Find out more.

“The foundations of mindfulness include attention, intention, compassion, and awareness….All of those things are things that animals bring to the table. People kind of have to learn it. Animals do this innately.” Find out more.

The Power of Pet Therapy

“When we’re facing despair, loneliness, chronic health issues, depression, addictions, or anything beyond our ability to cope, a pet can help ease the pain. He or she can give us a reason to get out of our thoughts to focus on a sense of purpose. The relationship we have with our pets is real and symbiotic—what I give to my pets comes back to me in ways that can’t be measured….” Read more on the power of pet therapy…

“For people with a mental health condition, research has shown that time with pets reduces anxiety levels more than other recreational activities. Pets also provide a non-judgmental form of interaction that can motivate and encourage people, especially children. Veterans with PTSD have also found therapy pets helpful….” Read more on therapy pets….

“In one study, 60% of people with chronic mental health conditions considered their pets to be as important as family members. The healing power of our little friends can be indescribable…. [Pet ownership] has been shown to reduce stress, depression and anxiety and improve overall quality of life in many ways. Pets provide a calm presence, can divert negative thoughts and promote exercise…..” Read more on the remarkable human-animal bond…

Army Dogs Help with PTSD

“Animals are not just cute. They provide support.” — U.S. Army Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, M.D. at a NAMI conference