Animals Mental Health and Wellbeing

7 Amazing Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

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There’s no doubt that spending time around animals can be therapeutic, and as a cat owner, I can attest to that. My cat is a sweet, shy girl who is nervous around new people at first, but when you get to know her, she is friendly and loving.

We have a special bond and she has 100% had a positive impact on my mental health over the years. In fact, most people who are dealing with mental health issues benefit from having a pet. If you’re anxious about work, relationships or even about something specific such as the outcome of a private assessment for ADHD, having a pet by your side can help to physically calm your heart rate and make you feel in better control.

In this post, I am going to explore some of the mental health benefits of owning a pet, whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD or any other mental health issue.

Of course, all people and all pets are different, and not all of the below points will apply to every pet. Some pets are shy or anxious themselves, and others appear indifferent towards humans. But in general, all pets can have a positive influence on your mental health in some way.

If you are thinking of getting a pet to help with your mental health, I recommend doing some research about pet care first. The Goody Pet is a fantastic place to start because it contains hundreds of helpful articles where you can learn all about how to be a great pet owner.

How Having A Pet Can Benefit Your Mental Health

7 Amazing Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

1. They are a calming presence

Unless you have a very boisterous pet, animals are generally a calming presence. When I feel anxious, just spending time around my cat helps me to calm down. There is something about a purring cat that is innately calming!

2. They are a distraction

Pets are great for distracting you from your feelings. If you’re feeling down or anxious, playing with your pet can be a great way to take your mind off things. Animals can also be extremely funny at times and make you laugh which is a great mood booster too.

3. They are a talking point

If you have social anxiety or find conversations difficult, pets provide a great talking point. This is especially true if you have a dog that you take out with you to social events. They are sure to liven up the occasion and provide entertainment if the conversation ever runs dry.

4. You can be yourself with them

There is no pressure to be a certain way around a pet. You can be yourself and they will accept you exactly as you are. This makes them wonderful company because you can rest assured they will not judge you like a human might.

Two guinea pigs eating a pile of grated carrot.
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

5. They are tactile

The majority of pets are okay with being touched and stroked. Stroking your pet can help to ground you in the present by engaging your senses. This can provide relief from anxiety and racing thoughts.

6. They are beautiful

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but most people would consider their pets beautiful, or at least interesting to look at! Looking at your pet can fill you with awe and appreciation for this incredible creature in your care. This in turn can give you a mood boost.

7. They give you a sense of purpose

If you are going through mental health struggles, you may sometimes feel that your life has no purpose. Caring for a pet provides you with a sense of purpose and can help you to get moving when you are lacking in energy and motivation.

Do you have a pet that helps with your mental health?

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it’s given you a new appreciation for how pets can benefit your mental health. If you have any pets, I would love to hear all about them – tell me below in the comments! How do they help your mental health? If you don’t have a pet, would you like to get one in the future? If getting a pet is impractical for you, I’d recommend getting out in nature or visiting a zoo or animal sanctuary to access the benefits of spending time with animals.

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7 Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Pet


  1. Rosie Ireland says:

    I am not a pet owner but that’s out of choice. I know the joy that my sister gets from her dog and cat. My mum is desperate to get a puppy too

    1. Sophie says:

      I can understand that pets aren’t for everyone as they may not fit into your lifestyle. I’m glad to hear that your sister gets so much joy from her pets! I hope your mum is able to get a puppy someday!

  2. Our pets bring so much joy and happiness into our lives. As someone who has struggled with their mental health over the years, I can’t say enough about what they have done to help me through the more difficult times. They always seem to know when I need them most – I can’t imagine not having them here. Honestly, there is nothing that a cuddle or some puppy/kitty kisses can’t at least make more bearable.

    1. Sophie says:

      I love reading about your lovely pets on your blog. I can’t imagine being without my cat either – they really do make such a difference!

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