Why pets help keep you healthy

We all have one thing in common here on the forum and that is our love for our furry friends…whether they are ours or ones we care for while the Pet Parents are away. Ever wonder why we need and crave the companionship and love from these beautiful creatures? I was doing some digging on the WEB and ran across this very interesting article about the benefits of having a pet in our lives. I thought I would share.

The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets - HelpGuide.org

The article goes deeper into depth but I have extracted the main features if you don’t get the chance to full read from Helpguide.org


Your trusted nonprofit guide to mental health & wellness


The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets

Pets come with some powerful health benefits. Here’s how caring for a dog, cat, or other animal can help relieve depression and anxiety, lower stress, and improve your heart health.

The benefits of pets

Most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals. However, many of us remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond.

Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. Dogs, for example, are able to understand many of the words we use, but they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. And like any good human friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.

Any pet can improve your health

While it’s true that people with pets often experience greater health benefits than those without, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. A rabbit could be ideal if you’re allergic to other animals or have limited space but still want a furry friend to snuggle with. Birds can encourage social interaction and help keep your mind sharp if you’re an older adult. Snakes, lizards, and other reptiles can make for exotic companions. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower your pulse rate.

Studies have shown that:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
  • Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
  • Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that pets fulfill the basic human need for touch. Even hardened criminals in prison show long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with pets, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Stroking, hugging, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe you when you’re stressed or anxious. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost your mood and ease depression.


Fabulous. Animals are healers. It is a perfect example of love and be loved.
Just shared a film on the what are you watching thread that does a wonderful job of depicting this very powerful natural part of these relationships and the value they provide to all.


I couldn’t agree more @Debbie-Moderator @Amparo. I know for sure how much I have benefitted healthwise from animals in my life.


[quote=“Debbie-Moderator, post:1, topic:30680”]
ease loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost your mood and ease depression.
[/quote] Thank you for this insightful and affirming article, Debbie ~
I was lonely, and now I am not.
I was isolated, and now I am not; everyone wants to say “Hello” to my dog, and there we are, smiling, connecting, and adoring my dog, together.
I was disabled by the loss of 8 of my 9 closest family members,
and could barely tolerate one moment, as they were all so empty, and echoing the grief and losses.

Now, I am in love, always walking, playing, resting, and Tarkina always likes to be right next to me, curling into the curve of my body at night, sleeping silently until I awake, always touching me in some sweet way, resting with her head and neck draped across my legs, or looking so pretty, I have to cuddle and pet and snuggle her.

She is always warm, inviting, and gentle. Her tender heart made me adopt her, 16 Nov. 2021, when she was a heap of anxiety and unruly at the Santa Fe Humane Society. She had no training, and now she has over 1,000 hours of focused training.

I could tell she was just needing me, like I was needing her.
There is no exaggeration that we made our lives so beautiful by being together, and we are never apart.
She has accompanied me to 3 zoos, 2 movies and the 80th consecutive, monthly Billy Joel concert residency, at Madison Square Garden.
“Top Gun” in Kennesaw, Georgia, on a cross-America road trip both ways, was scary and loud, so she viewed it watching between the two seats in front of us.

In NYC, we saw “Jurassic World.” She is so adaptable and quick to learn, she slept right through the whole thing. Sleeping on the floor like a rolled out flat rug.

Roaring jets, and mischievous dinosaurs, fantastic fanfare and great songs; she says,
“Whatever, good night.”
My profile photo, at the Billy Joel concert, at MSG, in NYC,
to celebrate our meaningful partnership.


@Debbie-Moderator This is why we love pet sitting until we are in the position to get our own again. We do not feel quite right without a dog in the home and miss all of those things the article mentions if we are not around pets :smiling_face: :dog: