Pets are beneficial for mental health

Research has found that house pets can truly benefit people emotionally


Aspen Bingham

Journey the dog snuggles on the couch.

My family and I have always had pets. While I always grew up with some kind of pet companion by my side, I never appreciated what they could do, especially in terms of mental health support.

I first met a service dog during a visit to the Emergency Room. I felt an immediate connection. His name was Ralph, and he could do some amazing things; he could play hide and seek, give hugs on command, and give high-fives. I realized how special this animal was, and I knew I wanted a dog of my own.

Around a year ago, I got my own german shepherd, Journey. He has shown me unconditional love, made me a much happier person, and has helped create a more structured lifestyle.

Newer studies have shown that there are many emotional and physical benefits to having pets. In a study done by AAHA, it showed 65% of pet owners reported improvements to their mental health. This information can truly benefit people in need of emotional support — people living with mental illness, patients going through life-changing physical surgeries, and even veterans with PTSD. 

It has been proven that pets can help with many mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Animals provide unconditional love that can give us a sense of comfort and security. The feeling of comfort animals provide also helps to ease loneliness.

Pets help elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine creating more feelings of happiness and calmness. This boosts self confidence, especially for people with specific conditions such as ADHD and autism.