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Why Having a Pet Improves Your Mental Health?

Written and reviewed by
Ph.D - Social Psychology -, M.Phil. Educational Psychology, MSc. Child Psychology , B.Sc
Psychologist, Mumbai  •  38years experience
Why Having a Pet Improves Your Mental Health?

Pets can be amazing companions and help you cope with your life problems. There can be times when you might feel low and lack motivation to do anything; a pet can change that scenario and bring about a positive change in your life. They keep you engaged and help you take your mind off from various problems in your professional and personal life.

Here are few reasons why having a pet can significantly improve your mental health:

  1. Petting lowers stress levels: Petting your furry friends is a major stress buster. It has been observed that petting a dog or a cat releases the hormone called oxytocin, which is associated with lowered anxiety and stress levels. When you connect with your pet and engage yourself in grooming and petting, it naturally reduces your blood pressure and lowers the level of cortisol, thereby, producing a calming effect. 
  2. Pets reduce loneliness and isolation: Pets can constantly keep you company, if you don't like being lonely. Dogs and cats can make friends easily and due to their intuitive nature, they can sense it when you are feeling low. They refuse to leave you alone and provide your mental support. Pets also help you socialize especially if you take them out for a walk. They help you interact with other pets and their owners.
  3. Pets are great listeners and they keep you engaged: Pets can distract you from your problems and stressful situations, which plague your mind. You and your furry mate can spend a wonderful time playing games or by simply clicking pictures together. Pets are also good listeners and hence you can vent out your feeling without the fear of being judged. They help you heal and get over certain things which would otherwise be a lot more difficult to overcome.
  4. They love you unconditionally and keep you happy: Seeing your pet welcoming you after a hard day at work can instantly lift your mood and make you smile. They love you no matter what mistakes you made and keep you energized, positive and motivated. Caring for your pet and reciprocating their love can make you less self centered and more motivated towards your goals.

Related Tip: "Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health"

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