Blog #3: What are the benefits of having pets as companions for our mental health?

My inquiry question: How does a pet impact and benefit an individual’s mental health?

What are the benefits of having pets as companions for our mental health?


Oftentimes in life, we find ourselves stressed, overworked and tired. All these essential factors impact our mental health negatively. Pets as companions play a beneficial role in allowing you to de-stress. In other words, having a pet reduces your stress levels. (1) While many of us find ourselves getting in a better mood around animals, we often question why. Research shows playing with pets increases levels of serotonin & dopamine. (1) Additionally, studies show that pet owners have lower blood pressure in stressful situations. (1) Owners spend lots of time interacting with their pets whether that be just sitting with them to playing with them. Simply talking or petting a pet can lower blood pressure and your heart rate. (1) Pets as companions are also a great option to reduce stress in a workplace environment. When coming home from work your pet can reduce work-related stress. (2) Employees who are around pets state that they help reduce their stress and improve employee satisfaction. (2) Research by Purina shows it can also promote happiness & increase collaboration for employees. (1) Your daily routine such as your job getting in the way of your mental health due to stress can gravely affect you in the future. Psychological impacts may include irritability, fatigue, sadness & concentration problems. (3) Therefore, using pets is a great way to lower your risks of problems with your mental health!

Pandemic pets

The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic left a huge mark on everyone. Individuals experienced loneliness, isolation & boredom. These feelings began to impact many individuals’ mental health leading to a rise in depression & anxiety. Pandemic pets became a great way to help. A total of 3.2m households in the UK acquired a pet during COVID-19. (1) Adoptions of pets have risen globally becoming beneficial support for both the pets and the individuals adopting them. Pandemic pets were good for our mental health. (1)  Pets reduced loneliness, provided companionship and provided new pet owners with positive energy. (1) During the pandemic many families experience boredom and loss. A new life helped families cope with the loss of a loved one and gave kids another focus. (1) Many individuals reported that getting a new pet gave them a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed during their most difficult times in the pandemic. (5) Pets such as dogs allowed for more social interaction as well. Walking your dog at a distance from others allowed individuals to have short & friendly conversations. (5) Having a pet meant you were never truly alone & were getting a healthy interaction. (5) During mental health crises caused by the pandemic, pets helped distract owners from negative thoughts associated with the pandemic. (5) The human-animal bond can show mental health vulnerability in pet owners. (7) This bond allows for emotional closeness and intimacy, which greatly helped during the pandemic. (7)


Depression & Anxiety

Often times when dealing with a mental illness such as depression & anxiety pets are an option to help you cope. Studies show that pet owners are less likely to experience depression than individuals without pets. (10) People with little to no human social support feel lonely and isolated. Both can worsen depression. By providing companionship & support, a pet decreases those feelings. (10) Pets can also help manage anxiety. (2) Using pets and their routines can help combat anxiety. Routines can be as simple as feeding pets & eating with them at regular hours, taking them out for walks regularly and playing at the end of each day. (9)

Dog lying on lap of owner reading book

Pets can be used as great icebreakers to help you overcome anxiety you may experience from meeting new people. New relationships can combat loneliness. Some suggestions would be going to dog parks or pet-friendly coffee shops. (9) Using a pet to talk to will help release strong and negative emotions. Opening up to a pet is beneficial because you won’t feel any judgement and often times pets will comfort you once realizing you are upset. Pets will know when you need a cuddle, so consider opening up to your pet when you feel upset. (9)




3 Replies to “Blog #3: What are the benefits of having pets as companions for our mental health?”

  1. Hey Itzel,
    I enjoyed reading your post! It was very informative and I even believe sometimes you can have stronger bond with an animal than a human. I also agree that pets are beneficial for taking stress away because you get comforted when you hug them. Especially like you said during COVID, pets where there to make us happy when we were lonely and stressed from staying inside all day. A question I have is do you think pets can tell when we are sad? I remember someone telling me this, but I want to know if it’s scientifically proven. A suggestion for a future blog post is to touch on the topic of how us humans impact the lives of our pets because it would be so intriguing to learn their aspect on their owners.

    Here Are Links If You Wanted To Look Into It:

    Good luck with your next blog post!

    Mahdiya A.

  2. Hi Itzel!

    This is such an amazing post and super informing! In personal experiences, I have felt comfort from pets during stressful times. I liked how you broke your research into two sections, Anxiety & Depression and Stress. In our time of social media and the amount of people that are connected to other people’s lives, stress and negativity can easily reach us. In many ways than one, a pet can help you cope with stress, ease anxiety, and boost your mood. I cannot wait to see more research from you! Here is a helpful link for further research:

    – Rhea :))

  3. Itzel, great post!
    This is such an interesting topic. I’ve heard people talking about how pets can improve our mental health, but I never really understood it why, or the scientific reasons behind it. So, I really like how you were able to explain it simply because it made it much easier to understand, especially when you were talking about how the pet’s routine can help improve the owner’s anxiety.

    Regarding pets in the workplace to help with stress, what do you think would be the downsides of it? Even though I agree that they can help employees, I know people who are allergic or have phobia of them. Do you think it is possible to find a middle ground to resolve this situation? Here’s some information on it if you are interested:

    Sofia B.

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