Can Pets Really Help Alleviate Stress and Anxiety?

Let’s face it. Every now and then, every individual does experience stress. There are many ways of rescuing one’s self against the perils of anxiety and stress. One such thing is having an animal at your house. An animal that you can pet because not all animals are eligible to become pets. If you have a pet already, then you already have a de-stressor in life.

Common Bond

Any pet owner can already know that their pets can make them feel better. Their pets also seem to understand what you are feeling and can even mirror the feelings back to you. Pets can make people laugh and can even make them cry. You will also notice that your loyal pet, such as your dog can look into your eyes and gauge your emotional well-being and will try to understand what you are feeling and thinking.

Physical Activity

Common household pets such as cats and dogs have a positive effect on the owners. It enhances the chances of you getting up to exercise, and any form of physical activity can improve anxiety and mental health conditions. Every time you walk your dog, you are spending your time outdoors. Any amount of time spent outdoors is an essential boost to the mental health of anyone aside from increasing the vitamin D intake. Walking can substantially boost the mood of anyone, resulting in a decrease in feelings of depression.


Petting a dog or just merely looking at them or just being in their presence helps in lowering blood pressure. This has been confirmed to two relevant 2012 studies that are both published in the Journal of Research in Personality.


All dogs are a great provider of friendship and love, aside from the utmost loyalty that you can receive from them. Westie dogs or West Highland terriers are one breed of dog known to be fantastic family dogs. Even if you are angry at them, chances are, they will still be there for you no matter what. There are countless videos online in this age of social media that show the kind of loyalty that a dog shows when their master encountered untoward incidents. Because of the commitment, love, and friendship that they provide, these factors help reduce the feelings of being isolated or even any loneliness feeling.

Pets and Children

According to a 2015 CDC study, pet dogs can help alleviate the chances of anxiety among your children, especially separation and social anxiety. Children can talk to their pet dogs unknowingly, thereby simulating the act of conversation, although not human, at least they can practice conversation skills. This is an ice-breaking effect that can reduce social anxiety via a social catalyst effect. Pet dogs are companions which results in minimizing the levels of separation anxiety as well as strengthen the bonds of attachment among children. Also, children who are taught to care for any animal leads to them growing up more secure and active.

Socialization and Touch

Pets can also make anyone less lonely because humans are social beings and loneliness is a common stressor in life. The companionship that pets provide not only decreases loneliness, but also encourages friendlier interactions with other people, thereby reducing stress.


One good thing about human and dog social interaction is that this kind of communication increases the oxytocin levels for both parties. The cortisol levels are significantly reduced during an interaction with a pet dog most likely through oxytocin release, which increases physiologic responses to stress. A cortisol level is one of the primary stress hormones of the body.


Among the reasons why there are therapeutic effects that owning pets can achieve is because of a need for touch, which is a basic human need. Even notorious criminals in prison can show a change in their usual conduct after an interaction with any pet, especially those who have just experienced mutual affection for the first time in their life. Each form of touch, including hugging, stroking, or just simple contact with an animal, will swiftly calm and soothe anyone anxious or stressed.

Living the moment

Also, pets can help any person to live in the moment. They alleviate stress because according to one doctor, “stress really is bemoaning the past and worrying about the future” so pets can help anyone to seize the day with their carefree and positive attitude.



Another thing is that with all the benefits of stress alleviation that owning a pet does, it will not even matter what kind of animal one has. It does not necessarily need to be a dog or a cat because even watching fish in an aquarium can greatly reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.