How Owning a Pet Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Depression Symptoms


Kevin Mangelschots

If you own a pet, you most likely have personal anecdotal evidence on how pets boost our spirits and provide us with unconditional love and companionship.

After a long day, when you arrive home and sit with your pet, you will suddenly realize that your anxiety or grief has disappeared. This is all because of our pet, and this has some significance! 

Our mental health can significantly benefit from having pets, and it’s not just professionally trained service dogs but also regular domestic pets. These pets provide us with the enduring affection that we all crave.

Having a pet boosts the mood, reduces stress, and lessens loneliness for people of all ages. Pet care duties are not a chore; instead, they are a calming routine.

Their friendship also offers significant psychological advantages. In this post, we will discuss how these pets help in reducing anxiety and depression, which are the major mental health problems of people these days, in detail. 

Maintaining a Daily Routine

Picture of a man running on a road with the words written: “It's time to adopt these healthy habits for a healthy lifestyle.”

Lack of structure in one’s daily life is the main reason behind the rising number of mental health cases in America.

But having a pet at your home keeps you in routine. A disorderly and unplanned lifestyle, more common in people with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, slows rehabilitation and feeds the illness.

When these people get a pet, their daily routines become organized. Such individuals naturally become more disciplined and active while keeping track of bathing, walks, feeds, and playtime.

Makes You Stay Active 

Picture of a man walking in the woods

Doctors encourage patients with anxiety and depression to stay active and engage in physical activity.

If you own a dog as a pet, you would play with them or go on a walk with them as they are high-energy pets. Dogs are fun and active, and they are more likely to force their owners to get up from their beds and move around.

People with depression recover more quickly when they exercise and are engaged in society frequently.

It is said that people with ‘no pets’ have less tendency to stay active, which makes them lazy and depressed.

Reduces Stress and Depression 

Image of a prohibition sign with the word “stress” written on it.

Petting your pet for only five minutes can lower your stress-related hormones.

The level of serotonin and dopamine also increases in your body, which helps you to relax and soothe the nervous system when you play with your pet. The release of “happy hormones” is aided when we smile, laugh, or interact with our pets.

They enable you to expand your social network

Group of school friends outdoors lifestyle and after school hang.

People with mental illnesses, such as social anxiety, frequently isolate themselves and avoid interacting with strangers.

Nonetheless, dogs can serve as a social lubricant because dog owners often pause and engage in conversation. The sense of belongingness can be improved by social relationships, which can be beneficial for your mental health condition. 

Decreases anxiety and loneliness

Illustration of an anxious man with associated symptoms.

Touch and movement are essential components of stress management.

Petting a dog or being close to any pet can reduce high blood pressure rates and ease anxiety symptoms.

Having a pet at your side also releases ‘oxytocin,’ a vital hormone in the human body that lowers stress levels and aids the body in pain management. It also encourages development and recovery. 

Pets provide companionship

The world’s most lovable and devoted creatures on the planet are pets.

They offer warmth and support when you need someone to calm or uplift you.

They’ll be there for you no matter how lonely you feel. In simple words, pets make the best loving companions for humans! 

Pets provide emotional support

Picture of a kid hugging an emotional support dog.

Our pets’ life revolves around us, and they perform special things for us randomly. Everyone needs a pet in their life because of the uncommon love we get from them.

Most pet owners believe their bond with their pets is unconditional and hence unbreakable. Due to the bonding, these pets act as a calming source of emotional support and are thus called emotional support animals.

These animals are not considered regular pets so you need to get a recommendation from a licensed mental health professional to get an ESA.

They will evaluate your mental health condition and if your condition turns out to be genuine, they will write an ESA letter for you. As a result, ESA owners are less prone than other patients with mental illnesses to require urgent professional assistance.

They promote our overall health

According to research, many pet owners claim that having a pet has benefited their mental health.  

Interactions between humans and animals raise oxytocin levels in the brain, which brings out feelings of warmth, attention, and serenity.

In addition, research conducted by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation on more than 600 cat owners revealed that 87% of respondents believed owning a cat had a beneficial impact on their well-being. With 76% stating they could cope with life better because of their pet’s company.


Image of a hand holding a card with the word “conclusions” written in blue.

Having a pet can make you feel better mentally.

Your relationship with your animal can reduce the symptoms of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression by giving you company and confidence and giving your days a healthy amount of structure.

If you cannot get a pet, don’t worry; you can still spend time with animals by walking dogs, volunteering at a local shelter, or fostering a pet.

Guest author bio

Salvatore S. Randazzo is a pet lover with two dogs and one cat. Ever since he was a child, he has had a deep passion and appreciation for animals of all shapes and sizes.

Whether it’s a fluffy cat or a playful dog, there’s something about these furry companions that just fills him with joy.