Having A Pet Is Beneficial For People Who Experience Stress

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 1, 2022

Stress has been a part of human lives since time immemorial. Although the reasons differ, stress is something that causes harm to the physical and mental well-being of a human. Pets, especially dogs have genetically become more accustomed to human company.

They have evolved in a way that they can understand our gestures, body language, voice tones, emotions, etc. For older adults, pets are known to be very good companions and a source of security. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to have depression or high blood pressure when compared to people who don’t own any pets.

Obviously, this depends upon various other factors too but mostly the aspect of owning a pet, spending time with it actually helps in calming your mind and reducing stress. According to recent research done at Kingston University, London, raising a pet could considerably help in managing stress and emotional well-being.

How Was The Research Carried Out?

The study was done on 700 participants consisting of people from the UK and around the world. The researchers carried out two surveys among which the first one was done during the initial stages of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and the second one was done in September 2021. The results pointed towards a positive effect of pets on their owner’s mental well-being.

Having A Pet Is Beneficial For People Who Experience Stress

Taking the pet for a walk, playing with the pet more often, even time spent ‘talking’ to your pet, etc. were all activities that led to a better score among the participants who owned a pet. They were reportedly happier than the other participants who didn’t have any pets.  

However, the research also looked at unhealthy emotional bonding with the pets by their owners. According to Ece Beren Barklam, lead author of the study and Ph.D. scholar in human-animal interaction observed that sometimes it so happens that the pet owner gets too emotionally attached to their pet that they start caring less for the people around them solely concentrating on the needs of their pet as if the pets have “human motives and traits”.

These participants also scored lower scores compared to others who maintained a comparatively healthy relationship with their pets. She also said that while we already know the importance of having pets in our lives, this new study opened up a new area about how an individual’s characteristic like resilience comes into play in owning a pet and its positive and negative impact on that person’s mental health. 

Dr.Fatima Maria Felisberti, senior author of the study and Associate professor in neurocognition and aesthetics commented that the research would help shed light on the complex relationship between animals, especially pets and humans. She said that till now we tend to “oversimplify” this relationship and the reason why people wanted to have pets.

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A second research study has been started by Barklam to understand how friendships and romantic relationships are affected within the paradigm of human-animal interactions.     

Dr.Layla Esposito, who is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Human-Animal Interaction Program recommends that to increase physical activity owning a dog as a pet would be helpful and if your goal is to reduce stress then watching your pet fish swim in its bowl can be calming. Therapy dogs are used in hospitals and nursing homes to reduce anxiety and stress in patients.

Dr.Ann Berger, physician and researcher at NIH clinical center says that dogs are very observant about a person’s mood and they can be comforting and loving to people if they are going through an emotional low. Pets like guinea pigs are found to be helpful in class with children belonging to the autism spectrum. They are observed to be calmer around these pets.        


🔵WebMD (2005-2022) How Pets Affect Mental Health (Available On):https://pets.webmd.com/how-pets-affect-mental-health 

🔵Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (n.d) How to Stay Healthy Around Pets (Available On):https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/keeping-pets-and-people-healthy/how.html


Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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