How Pets Help Reduce Stress

by Erin Askeland, CPDT-KA and Training and Behavioral Expert at Camp Bow Wow

Some studies show that people begin to feel less anxious after spending less than an hour with an animal. There are endless benefits from lowering your stress level and while the things that we find stressful in our lives are often hard to eliminate, adding an animal to your life can help.

 

  • General Benefits: There’s a reason that they say dog is man’s best friend. Having a pet, not limited to dogs, is something that everyone should experience at some point in their life. Pets can be calming, mood lifting, empathetic, and so much more. They teach you how to be selfless and responsible as you are caring over another life (for those of you without children).  Generally speaking, they make you happy. 
  • Helps with Depression: In some cases, therapists suggest that patients suffering from depression that they adopt a pet. An animal will love you unconditionally and also be a great friend and listener. People with depression often benefit from having a pet, as the animal can help them get out of the house.
  • Health Benefits: There are other health benefits associated with pet ownership (particularly dogs). Many studies show that owning a pet has a positive impact on cardiovascular disease, hypertension, infection control, allergies, stress related problems, blood pressure, and psychological issues.
  • Engaged Mind: A key to a healthy mind, especially for those who are elderly, is staying engaged with others. A pet is often a conversation starter and being out with a pet often warrants questions or comments from passersby. Bringing your dog to a dog park is a great way to meet new people with similar interests.
  • Build Your Children’s Confidence: Having a dog in the home can build confidence and manage anxiety and stress in children. Children who struggle with reading or math can gain confidence when reading aloud or reciting multiplication tables to their dog.
  • Excuse to Play: Training and playing with your dog also provides mental stimulation, helps unleash creativity and alleviates stress. Having a dog will also encourage you to exercise as you’ll need to walk Fido regularly.
  • Routine: Having a daily schedule reduces stress for any individual. Having a dog that relies on you at specific times each day (feeding, walking, and sleeping) can help establish a routine.