Most pet owners consider their pets family members; after all, pets are like loyal companions that bring joy and happiness to their owners. Pets can also make us feel better on even the toughest of days. However, the benefits of having a pet extend way beyond just companionship. In fact, pets have a remarkable ability to impact our mental health positively in a variety of ways. This article explores the mental health benefits of having a pet

Pets are Companions

Having a pet means that you can always have a companion around you. Pets can also offer unconditional acceptance and make their owners feel loved. They also increase the levels of dopamine and oxytocin, leading to increased feelings of happiness. A study conducted in 2021 during the pandemic found that people with pets experienced higher levels of well-being. Thus, having pets as companions can reduce feelings of loneliness and enhance overall mental well-being.

Pets Help With Stress and Anxiety

In today’s world, where stress is constant, pets can be an effective way to find relief. Interactions with animals, be it stroking a cat or playing fetch with a dog, have been shown to trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and stress reduction. In 2015, a study discovered that having a pet dog during childhood was linked to reduced levels of anxiety in children. Similarly, in 2018, a study revealed that therapy dogs proved beneficial for university students experiencing stress. Gently stroking or playing with pets can help regulate anxiety as well.

Pets Help With Depression

Pets can be a good source for coping with depression. Dogs, in particular, have been identified as having a positive impact by reducing feelings of depression. A study conducted in 2022 found that pet owners were less likely to be depressed as compared to non-pet owners, suggesting a strong link between pets and depression. Caring for a pet can also make people feel valued and appreciated, leading to a boost in their self-esteem which is essential for overcoming depression. Prts have also been successfully integrated into the treatment of trauma among army professionals.

Pets and Physical Health

Physical health can influence our mental well-being as well. Thus, taking care of one’s physical health is equally important. Having a pet can help with that. Pets such as dogs, need regular play, walking, and other forms of exercise, leading to increased exercise for their owners. Regular exercise can contribute to reduced stress and anxiety among humans as well. Not only that, older research suggests that regularly petting dogs can help lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

Pets and Social Interaction

All of us need social interaction to feel a sense of belonging, which is one of the basic human needs. Pets can bring opportunities for increasing interactions with other pet owners, leading to an enhancement in social circles and relationships

Should You Get a Pet?

It is important to know that getting a pet involves a long-term commitment. A pet often needs a good environment. and a consistent routine. You can consider starting by observing and playing with other pets in your locality and social circle to see if you feel comfortable handling a pet. Some other factors you can consider are:

  • Space around your house
  • The financial resources required for a pet
  • Do you have enough time to take care of a pet?
  • Do you enjoy outdoor activities or exercises that some pets need?


Pets certainly bring a lot of benefits to your physical and mental health. They can act as constant companions, helping people deal with not only daily life stressors but also serious mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. However, one must remember that having a pet requires care and commitment from all of us humans as well.

Interested in knowing more about the benefits of pets? Click here to read our article on Animal Assisted Therapy in India.


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Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin