Are Pets Really Good for Anxiety

We all adore our furry friends and understand the joy they bring simply by being near us. Our beloved animals are always ecstatic to welcome us, making it impossible not to feel uplifted in their presence. After all, who else greets you with face licks after a long day at work? Granted, your cat might not show their enthusiasm as openly, but they too feel joy in their unique way. Essentially, the presence of a pet inherently boosts your mood. If you doubt this, chances are you’ve never had the pleasure of owning a pet. Yet, rest assured, we have solid evidence to support this claim.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the United States and affects over 40 million people annually. And people with anxiety disorders are six times more likely to suffer from physical problems as well. In fact, anxiety can increase your chances for stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer. This is because anxiety affects your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses from the common cold to diabetes. There are several types of anxiety as well, which include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Nervousness or worry about one certain thing or everything all the time

  • Isolating yourself

  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions

  • Forgetfulness

  • Obsessing over something you cannot do anything about

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness or fainting

  • Fast heartbeat

  • Racing thoughts

  • Insomnia

  • Jumpy or startling easily

  • Fearing things you do not understand

Regardless of whether you suffer from one or all of these symptoms, having a pet may actually help you relax. According to BetterHelp, having a pet not only makes you feel happy but it can also lower your blood pressure, reduce your heartbeat, and increase your endorphins. These are the hormones that make you feel good. This has actually been proven by the experts and there are programs and companies that have what they call emotional support animals (ESA) to help those who do not or cannot have their own pet. For example, if you live in a small apartment or you are not allowed to have a pet where you live, you can get an ESA from one of these places as a temporary solution. A Custom Stuffed Animal of Your Pet can be a great alternative if want you to feel the warmth of your furry friend but somehow cannot have its company in real.

A Loaner Pet

This is also great for those who cannot afford a pet. After all, pets can be expensive even if you get one for free. You have to provide food, veterinary care, and all the creature comforts like toys, treats, a leash and collar, dog bed, etc. Some places will actually bring the pet to you daily or weekly and let you spend time with them if you are unable to have them live with you for whatever reason. This is an awesome idea for many people including the elderly who may not be physically able to care for a pet. 

Anxiety Service Dogs

There are also anxiety service dogs that you can get prescribed to you. These service dogs are trained to help those who are having trouble with anxiety and other mental health conditions. This is especially helpful in those with PTSD who may be alone all the time due to the panic attacks they have when trying to go out. They have done many studies on the effects that anxiety service dogs can have on those with PTSD and other types of anxiety disorder and found that these pets lower overall symptoms in most of those who participated. Some of the benefits of these pets are:

  • Calming their person when they are stressed out

  • Retrieving a phone when needed

  • Giving deep pressure therapy

  • Bringing their person out of an anxiety attack by licking their face or touching them with a paw

  • Preventing strangers from bothering their person during an attack

  • Getting help for their person when needed

  • Bringing medication to their person

  • Noticing signs of an attack before it happens

Other Benefits

Your service dog can also provide exercise, sunshine, and fresh air because you have to take them out and walk them. In fact, they can even help you socialize with others because it is shown that people with anxiety feel more confident when they are with their dog. And if you have a different pet like a cat, rabbit, horse, or even a bird, just loving them and having them love you back can improve your mood and boost your self-confidence.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-
related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health
resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with
mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Krystal Morrison

I create this blog to share my daily tips about home improvement, children, pets, food, health, and ways to be frugal while maintaining a natural lifestyle. Interested to be a Guest Blogger on my website? Please email me at: [email protected]

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