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How Pets Contribute to Mental Health

If you’ve ever lived with a pet, you’ve experienced the purity of unconditional love. It’s in the way a dog’s eyes light up when its owner walks through the door or how a cat curls up perfectly in the curve of its human’s body, finding comfort in the rhythmic beat of a heart. It’s a relationship that transcends mere companionship; it delves deep into the realm of soulful connection. Our pets become anchors, grounding us with unwavering love and loyalty.

The human-animal bond has existed for thousands of years. Pets teach us how to be present and cherish the simple joys, and, most importantly, they remind us that even in our moments of solitude, we are never truly alone. Recent scientific research shows that owning or interacting with pets can positively affect our mental health. Continue reading to learn the many ways pets contribute to our mental health.

Reduces Stress

Owning a pet, especially dogs or cats, can lead to a calming effect that reduces stress. A study from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University found that just ten minutes of petting a dog or cat can significantly reduce cortisol levels.

Alleviates Loneliness

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), loneliness and social isolation are causing a severe public health crisis in the US, especially for older Americans. Pets provide unconditional love and companionship, which can help combat loneliness.

Dogs, especially, can act as social catalysts. Dog owners often stop to chat with other dog owners during walks, leading to increased social interaction and community connection.

Reduces the Risk of Depression

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania cites research findings that show that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than people without pets.

From reducing stress to increasing social interactions, pets are integral to promoting mental well-being. As research continues to explore the connection between pets and mental health, it’s clear that our furry (or feathery or scaly) friends offer a unique and valuable form of emotional support.

RADIAS Health provides person-centered integrated healthcare services to people experiencing mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Compassionate, skilled health care and support staff deliver our behavioral health services. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our mission, contact us today or consider donating!

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