How do I Love Thee? At the Heart of Pets and Stress Relief

People who share their lives with animals understand true love, but that doesn’t mean pet owners are immune to stress, anxiety, or depression. Indeed, many of us experience downturns at one point or another. But always at the center of a downcast gaze is a non-judgmental, comforting, and stable friend. Yes, pets have a significant impact on reassuring – or at least distracting – us, but what’s really at the core of pets and stress relief?

Count the Ways

While the sources of stress are seemingly endless, so are the many ways to combat it. Many people open an orange or sit in the sun. Others spend all weekend at a plush resort to melt troubles away. However, of all the ways to reduce our emotional and mental anguish, we believe time spent with animals tops the list.

Pets and Stress Relief

At the University of Miami, researchers have proven that people who own pets are more socially involved and conscientious than those without that unique human-animal bond. Similarly, it’s widely accepted that students sharing space with pets have higher self-esteem, lower rates of depression, and are less lonely. This may stem from childhood connections to animals. Kids who grow up with cats and dogs are also found to be more empathetic, perhaps because close physical contact helps form a deeper realized sense of attachment.

Hypertension Troubles

The truth behind pets and stress relief hinges on actual blood pressure readings of pet owners. It’s well known that animal interaction lowers blood pressure and cortisol (the stress hormone) even better than medication.

But Wait, There’s More!

Pet owners, especially those with dogs, are more likely to get moving. Daily walks or visits to the park are 50% more likely to happen, locking in the recommended dose of exercise (for pets and people alike!).

Getting out with a pet also increases exposure to other like-minded people, shortening a perceived gap between them. Making friends and adding to a self-sustaining social network all add to a higher quality of life.

Need More Reasons?

The following are additional reasons the combination of pets and stress relief has such a far-reaching impact:

  • Holding, stroking, and cuddling a pet has proven to reduce anxiety.
  • Pets don’t judge and will always listen when you pour your heart out.
  • They don’t offer unsolicited advice.
  • When you take care of their needs, you distract yourself from the problems weighing you down.
  • Creating a sense of mastery in pet care allows one’s overwhelmed feelings to dissipate.
  • They provide an added sense of security when at home alone.
  • Make your pet happy by playing and you will automatically cheer up, even if it’s just for a moment.
  • Pets love unconditionally.

Love and Be Loved

It’s also critical to pay close attention to your pet’s stress, such as when taking your cat to the vet. A stressed pet is an unhealthy one, and we’re always here to help. Please contact us with any questions or concerns about your pet’s’ health.

Until then, go find your pet, look deeply into his or her eyes, and say “I love you.” You’ll be glad you did!