How Pets Boost Your Mood and Keep You Healthy


There’s nothing quite like owning a pet. Some people have had pets their entire lives; others don’t adopt their first animal until adulthood. Regardless of when a pet entered your life, many people are experiencing the health benefits of having an animal. This has been further accentuated by pet therapy, which helps people to cope with chronic diseases and mental health disorders.

Research is showing that having a pet has numerous health benefits. So whether you have a dog, rabbit, cat, bird, or fish, check out these ways that your pet helps to boost your mood and keep you healthy.

Give You a Meaningful Relationship

Many children find a consoling friend in pets. A pet provides a meaningful relationship, both for people who aren’t able to get out and socialize and for people who have plenty of human connections. Pets are there when you get home, they depend on you for care, and they can “console” you when you’re down. Your relationship with your pet is bound to be one of the most meaningful you have ever had.

Having pets is also an excuse to do something fun. People with pets tend to exercise more than those who don’t. They provide a sense of structure to your day and make you feel loved and needed. No pet does this more than a dog—dogs are happy to see you regardless if you’ve been gone two seconds or two weeks. The relationship you have with your pet gives a sense of belonging and meaning to your life.

Minimize Stress

Just petting an animal can help to relieve stress. Studies show that people with pets experience lower blood pressure as well as heart rate. Your pet is also a source of activity for you. Physical activity is a great way to manage stress and help to ease anxiety and boost your mood. Taking your dog trail walking or having a play session with your bunnies can improve your mood and help to ease stress and anxiety.

Pets are also a reliable companion for people, which can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with different health ailments. Just having another presence there who loves and needs you can comfort people. Even if you don’t have any health ailments but are just dealing with the daily stressors of life, a pet can help you to feel calmer, lower your blood pressure, and make you laugh.

Connect with Other Pet Lovers

People who are by themselves are less likely to reach out and communicate with other people in their daily comings and goings.  However, people who own pets tend to have more social connections with other pet lovers. People love talking about their pets and often ask other pet owners if their pets can meet, therefore sparking conversation.

Many people schedule playdates for their dogs as well as park time, which is a great way to get out and connect with others who love pets. There are many activities and events out there for people who are all about animals. The social benefits of having a pet can be important for people who live alone, are retired, or elderly. Making friends isn’t always easy, but with a pet, you can learn how to connect with others in a meaningful way.

Have a Lower Risk of Chronic Disease

Having a pet when your baby is born has been suspected to lower the risk of your child getting allergies or asthma. Having a pet at home may also help to boost your child’s immune system, leading to fewer colds and infections before your baby turns one. While not much research has been done on this, it’s an important note in the increasing research of how animals help us stay healthy.

Pets can help those struggling with cardiovascular health by helping them get active and increasing their outlook on life. Nothing motivates you to stay healthy like having a pet that you want to be around to love and care for. In addition to having managed stress as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate, pets can help you in your prevention of getting a chronic disease. This combined with the social aspect of having a pet as well as the meaningful relationship it gives you can help you to stay healthy longer.

Animal-assisted therapies such as pet therapy have also been shown to help ease chronic pain and provide comfort to those suffering from cancer or other illnesses.

There are so many animals out there that need homes. Why not adopt one? Research points to the fact that pet owners tend to be healthier than non-pet owners. From exercising to social connections to managing stress and preventing chronic disease, your pet gives you a significant relationship in addition to helping you to stay healthy. Consider adopting a pet for your health! 

Jenn Ryan
Jenn Ryan is a freelance writer and editor who's passionate about natural health, gluten-free, fitness, and animals. Jenn loves running, reading, and playing with her four rescued rabbits.