Give your pets an extra squeeze today! Not only are your goofy, loveable animals great companions, they are also beneficial for your mental health.

Benefits of owning pets:

  • Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisone (a stress hormone) and lower blood pressure.
  • Pets can reduce loneliness, boost mood, and increase feelings of support.
  • Pets can reduce anxiety and provide a calming presence.
  • Some pets, especially dogs, can encourage regular physical activity through walks and playtime.
  • Animals can add structure to your day. Feeding and caring for a pet requires keeping to a daily routine, which can help you feel more focused and purposeful.
  • Pets provide unconditional companionship and love, which can increase your confidence and sense of self-worth.

Although all pets can provide these benefits, some animals can qualify as Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). In order for an animal to be an ESA, the pet “needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness” (American Kennel Club). ESAs are NOT service dogs, but can provide necessary comfort and ease for sufferers of anxiety or depression.

Not able to own a pet? Volunteer at an animal shelter! Many public and private animal shelters need volunteers to feed, bathe, and love on animals. You can still get the benefits of interacting with animals even if your circumstances don’t allow you to own one.


Mental Health Foundation

National Institutes of Health News