How Pets Affect Our Psychological Well Being

Have you ever heard that “A tail-wag a day keeps the doctor away”? Well…this may not be a common saying, but it’s true. Dogs, cats, and other pets play a huge role in keeping their owners happy and healthy. In the past few decades, there are more and more studies that show just how greatly pets can improve our mental wellbeing. So, in honor of the International Day of Happiness, we wanted to shine some light on how pets affect our psychological health.

Pets Reduce Depression and Increase Joy

When you pet your dog or cat, your body releases serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals flood the brain and make you feel happy. Both serotonin and dopamine can alleviate depression and give you a bump in self-esteem.

Dogs and Cats Relieve Our Stress and Anxiety

Along with dopamine and serotonin, spending time snuggling your pet can reduce how much cortisol your body produces. Cortisol is the hormone that causes stress and anxiety. Not only does this help you feel more relaxed, calmer, and more secure, but high levels of cortisol can lead to heart disease.

Pets Prevent Loneliness

Feeling alone can take a major toll on a person’s psychological health. Pets fill our space, lives, and homes with love and companionship. There’s nothing better than arriving home to a pet that’s thrilled to see you, even if you just stepped outside for a moment.

Our Pets Give Us Purpose

It’s easy to see how waking up to a wagging tail or a purring kitty can give you an immediate feeling of love and purpose. Our pets rely on us for their care and all of their needs. From feeding your pet to playing with them, pets allow us to feel accomplished and needed. They give our lives additional value.

Kids Gain Self Confidence When They Have Pets

The responsibility of caring for a pet can give your kids a huge boost in their self-confidence. Being able to take part in providing for another creature’s life is invaluable. It teaches kids that they can have an impact on the world around them, and that they are strong, independent, and trustworthy. Pets help children feel more confident in their ability to succeed, step up, and become leaders.

Pets Teach Kids Compassion

When little ones have the opportunity to care for and bond with pets, they’re able to exercise their compassion. Studies show that this ability to empathize with a pet extends to how children relate to their peers. They become more aware of their friends’, siblings’, and others’ emotions and needs. This has an immeasurable benefit for children that stays with them as they grow.

Dogs Increase Our Socialization Opportunities

Our dogs insist on getting us outdoors, which comes with the added benefit of spending time in nature. But going out and about has a cumulative effect of increasing our socialization. Simply saying “Hi!” to the neighbors and waving at another dog owner provides you with chances to talk to others. This gives our lives more extrinsic value.

Repay Your Pet’s Kindness By Caring for their Health Needs

Pets make every day a special day of happiness. Keeping your pet healthy is the best way to show them how much you appreciate the value they bring to your life. Take a moment and schedule your pet’s wellness check-up now.

Photo Credit: Monoliza21 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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