psychological benefits of owning pets

Psychological Benefits Of Owning Pets-Things You Need To Know Leave a comment


Pets are lovely creatures. As you know, cats and dogs are the most commonly kept pet animals around the globe because they easily develop strong emotional bonds with human beings.

This has been scientifically documented in the literature that pets give lots of mental and physical benefits to their owners and also help in better personality development of children. Many owners ask the following questions about the Psychological benefits of owning pets such as,

How do pets help in the reduction of anxiety/depression?

Do pets help children with low self-esteem issues?

Do pets aid in managing social illness in people?

What are the medical benefits of keeping pets?

What are the basics of Animal-Assisted Therapy?

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Remember, there are a lot of psychological and physical benefits which are linked with keeping pets. Here, we will discuss the psychological and physical benefits of keeping pets in detail under the light of scientific literature.

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How Pets Give Psychological Benefits For Adults?

This is obvious that pets bring lots of happiness and unconditional love to us. They are the best companions and support the owners in loneliness.


According to a research study conducted by a team of expert psychiatrists from the University of Purdue and the University of Pennsylvania:

“Pets have a number of positive psychological benefits. Interacting/playing with pets gives alleviation in stress and anxiety”

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pets improve mental and social well-being in humans. Pet keepers are less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and stress as compared to non-pet holders. 

Hence, it proves that keeping a pet helps in combating a number of psychological troubles such as mood swings, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress, and other mood disorders. Remember, not only adults but pets also protect children from depression and anxiety.

What Are Key Psychological Benefits Of Owning Pets?

There are a number of psychological health benefits which are associated with keeping pets; here we have summarized a few important key benefits:

1)    Interaction with pets reduces anxiety, depression, and a sense of loneliness along with other psychological troubles.

2) Playing with pets (cats, dogs) relaxes the human body because of the secretion of good hormones (serotonin and dopamine). These hormones have a positive influence on stress and anxiety.

3) Playing with pets’ boosts up self-esteem and confidence in humans.

4)   Interaction with pets enhances the sense of being socialized and building trust in others in people with trust issues.

5)  Pets have a significant influence on lowering blood pressure and maintaining heart rate and breathing. Additionally, heart patients with pets survive longer than those who don’t have pets.

6) Pets help in soothing Alzheimer’s patients. This has been documented that Alzheimer’s patients suffer a fewer anxious outburst and less stress if pets are around them.

7) The researchers have proved that pet owners remain physically sound as compared to non-pet holders. All along with that, pets make the owners extroverts.

8) Pets help in boosting the vitality of older individuals. They encourage a sense of happiness, playfulness and in return, these feelings improve immunity and put a positive impact on the overall physical and Psychological benefits of owning pets.

9) It is scientifically proven that individuals with pets give fewer visits to doctor as compared to non-pet holders. Additionally, heart patients with pets survive longer than without pets.

10) Interaction with pets (going out for a walk with your beloved dog and cat) also help in reducing weight. So, pet-keeping is a very useful thing for obese individuals.

How Pets Give Health Benefits To Children?

Pets are very helpful in improving the social growth, self-esteem, and other personality traits of children.

Interestingly, pets are good for humans of all ages. Kids get many physical and mental benefits by playing/interacting with pets. Some important benefits have been summarized below:

Interaction with pets makes kids feel important and build new relationships.

Playing with pets is good for those children who have behavioral issues (aggressive and stubborn). While interacting with pets, such kids learn to behave well.

Playing with pets decreases loneliness and separation anxiety in children. It also helps them to develop a positive self-image and strong self-esteem.

Last but not least, studies have revealed that interaction with pets also enhances the learning and decision-making capabilities of kids by stimulating the brain, For instance, kids suffering from autism and other communication disabilities can be cured with pets. Interaction with pets makes them calm and acts as an antidote to frustration and annoyance caused by learning disabilities.

How Pets Help A Child With Autism?

This has been proven that child with autism disease or other learning impairments also gets benefits from interacting with pets. Having pets is a good way to help disable children regulate stress and deal with learning disabilities in an effective way.

What Are Health Benefits Of Pet Keeping In Older Individuals?


Pets give a lot of mental and physical benefits to old people. In old age, due to sudden changes in the body or some environmental or domestic causes, people start getting into depression and other mental ailments. By playing with pets, they feel relaxed and boredom-free.

Additionally, pets help in increasing your vitality. Playing with pets increases exercise, playfulness, and other physical activities which give a positive impact on the immune system and overall wellness of old-aged individuals. This is why it has been stated that pets boost up optimism, morale, and self-worth in old-aged individuals.


According to a research study conducted at the wellness institute (Northwestern memorial hospital, Chicago):

“Walking with an overweight dog helped in reducing the unnecessary weight in both the dog and the owner. Hence, it is proved that a routine walk with a dog helps in maintaining the weight of the owners”.

Interaction with pets decreases the amount of bad lipids and cholesterol in the body which ultimately exerts a positive influence on cardiac health. That’s why; interaction with pets decreases the incidence of a heart attack in older people.

Moreover, interaction with pets helps in the recovery of old age diseases such as dementia and other brain degenerative diseases.

What Is Animal-Assisted Therapy?

Because of a lot of psychological and physical health benefits of pets, they widely are used for therapy purposes. They are used only under professional supervision and setting to treat a variety of mental ailments. Additionally, dogs are the most commonly used animal for psychotherapy reasons. Over and above, other animals such as horses, birds, cats are also used in animal-aided therapy.

Note: This is important to keep in mind that, animal-assisted therapy is only carried out under the supervision of experts in a well-designed setting by using highly trained animals. The animal to be used in animal-facilitated therapy is selected only after assessing the needs of patients, age, and other important parameters.

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1) Having a pet provides companionship and helps you meet new people.

2) Having a pet decreases anxiety and depression

3) Having a pet increases confidence and self-esteem in humans

4) Having a pet Increases exercise and keeps you physically and mentally fit

5) Having a pet helps in improving learning disabilities in children. It is a nice antidote to frustration and stress caused by learning/communicative disabilities.

Pets equally give benefits to people of every age group. They do unconditional and pure love with their owners. Stay relaxed and calm with your beloved pet and treat your pet as your family member.


Can pets help in relieving stress and anxiety?

Yes, they significantly reduce anxiety and stress in humans. Simply, touching a pet, playing with a pet, and even seeing a pet gives lots of psychological advantages.

Do pets help a child with social illness?

Children often with low self-esteem and poor confidence show social sickness and remain mentally stressed.  This has been scientifically proven that interaction/playing with pets helps them in growing their social life and also improves self-confidence in them.

What are overall Psychological benefits of owning pets?

To put it into a nutshell, pets help in easing loneliness, decreasing anxiety/stress/depression, improving cardiovascular health, and improve low self-esteem and poor confidence.


Pehle MA. Healing relationships with companion dogs in the therapeutic process: An exploratory qualitative study. AAI3406177: 2010. p. 3365.

Wisdom JP, Saedi GA, Green CA. Another breed of “service” animals: STARS study findings about pet ownership and recovery from serious mental illness. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2009;79(3):430–6.

Zimolag U, Krupa T. The occupation of pet ownership as an enabler of community integration in serious mental illness: a single exploratory case study. Occupier Ment Health. 2010;26(2):176–96.

Knight, S. and Edwards, V., 2008. In the company of wolves: the physical, social, and psychological benefits of dog ownership. Journal of aging and health20(4), pp.437-455.

Herzog, H., 2011. The impact of pets on human health and psychological well-being: fact, fiction, or hypothesis?. Current directions in psychological science20(4), pp.236-239.

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