How Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

Are you currently fighting with stress, depression or anxiety? If you’re one of the lucky U.S. residents that live with a pat, you may be able to find a remedy in your very home. A wagging tail or a wet nose rubbing against you can bring peace and well-being into your life. This is the pet effect.

How Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

Ask any pet owner you know about the benefits of living with a pet. They will tell you about the love and affection these beings are able to bring into your life. In fact, a whooping 98% of pet owners consider their pets to be part of their family. Animals make people happier and healthier. A survey of pet owners revealed that almost three quarters of them reported that owning a pet has improved their mental health. Also, three quarters of these subjects reported that pet ownership has improved the mental health of one of their friends or family members.

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The bond between humans and animals has been the subject of many studies. Apparently, positive human-animal interaction has a lot of benefits in terms of reducing subjective psychological stress (feelings of fear and anxiety) by increasing the oxytocin levels in the brain. There’s scientific evidence that these biological responses have quantifiable clinical effects. Visit the Clarity Clinic to find out more about therapy.

In other words, pets and therapy animals can help humans cope with depression, stress and anxiety. They can also alleviate feelings of loneliness. Apparently, people can manage their long-term mental conditions by interacting with animals. According to a 2016 study, pets play an important role in providing mental health patients with the emotional and social support they need to manage their symptoms and to keep their condition under control. Studies have also demonstrated that pets can ease interactions between people and the formation of friendships and social support networks.

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is making efforts to unveil the hidden health benefits of interacting with pets. The institute has already invested millions in research projects meant to explore the benefits of human-animal interaction in three main areas; child health and development, mental health, and healthy aging. HABRI Central, the online database of this organization, counts more than 28,000 resources related to the science of human-animal bond.

As this topic gains in importance, HABRI keeps working to build awareness of the health benefits offered by pet ownership and animal-assisted therapies. The institute has built valuable partnerships with ADAA and with other similar organizations. In fact, many important medical institutions such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Mayo Clinic, and UCLA Health have started to acknowledge the health benefits of pet ownership and of human-animal interaction. All these efforts to create and share scientific evidence can help us be healthier by making animals part of our families.

HABRI strives to help people improve their health by including pets into their lives in a safe and responsible manner. Nevertheless, time spent with your four-legged friend shouldn’t be a substitute for medical treatment or advice. Getting a pet or enrolling into an animal therapy program can be good for you, but it should never lead to giving up medical treatments or professional medical recommendations.

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