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5 Ways Pets Support Social, Emotional, and Physical Wellness


It’s not a home without a pet. Dogs are man’s best friend. Time spent with cats is never wasted. You’ve heard all the sayings about pets, but did you know they are all true? 

Pets of any kind have a profound effect on the emotional and physical well-being of humans. Whether you are a cat person, dog person, bird person, or even a lizard person, having a pet around to cuddle and share your day with has an amazing impact on your health. 

With Love Your Pet Day being around the corner on January 20th, there’s no better time to learn how pets can support our well-being. And you can keep the conversation going on your path to health-lightenment and wellness by checking us out on Facebook @weliveconscious and Instagram @weliveconscious.

Hug Your Pet for Good Health

There are five distinct ways that having a pet has been found to improve your overall well-being. 

1. Decrease Stress

Have you ever noticed that any time you are upset or stressed, your pet is sitting right there next to you? Or in the cases of cats, right on top of you. 

Studies found that supporting a pet helps control your blood pressure and heart rate in stressful situations. Pets also offer unconditional love, which is helpful in times of stress. A cuddle from your furry friend can ease even the highest tensions. Spending time with your pet reduces anxiety and worry, which is why animals are frequently used for therapy. 

2. Reduce Depression

Living alone can put you at high-risk for depression, but when you have a pet, you are never truly alone. That friendly face, purr, or wagging tail will always be there to greet you at the end of a long day. 

A woman petting her dog while surfing the web

Again, the positive emotions and elevated spirits that pets create in people are one of the many reasons animals are used in therapy. The unconditional love and acceptance are proven to especially be beneficial to those battling with depression. 

When nobody else in the world is offering you a hug, you can be assured that your pet always will.

3. Feel Good

Hanging out with your pet has been shown to boost the production of oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for feel-good feelings and enhances a sense of happiness. These same hormones also help naturally reduce pain and promote healing. 

Having a pet around for daily hugs is sure to keep a smile on your face and help you heal what ails you. They said you needed apples each day to keep the doctors away, but a hug from your pet will do the trick instead!

4. Boost Self-Esteem

Feel happier and feel wanted. Pets love you unconditionally, but they rely on you too. 

Caring for a pet brings out the nurturing side of humans and helps you to feel wanted. This can encourage people to be more outgoing and conscientious. Being conscientious can help you develop a healthier way of living, including self-esteem. Diamonds might make you look good, but the real glow (and confidence) will come from your pet.

5. Get Fit

Having a pet promotes getting fit through increased physical activity. To be fair, this may not be true for all pets (unless you have a cat or bird that enjoys morning walks!). 

Man running with his dog

Dogs are great at inspiring you to get out and get exercise because they need to be walked every day. Studies have found that dog owners are more likely to get the daily recommended amount of exercise than non-dog owners. 

Having a dog to take for a jog or even just a walk is also more enjoyable than exercising alone and also a great way to meet people. As your pooch socializes at the dog park, you get a chance to mingle too.  

Waking Up To Wellness

Remember that having a pet is a responsibility. If you are financially prepared to care for a pet, then the rewards will far outweigh any costs or responsibilities. A pet can be your partner, best friend, and companion all in one, and they are pretty cuddly too. 

Whether you live alone or have a big family, a pet is the one way to truly make any house a home. Despite the occasional muddy paws and hair scattered around, your pet will be there for you every day, through sickness and in health.