It’s no secret to pet parents and animal lovers everywhere that just merely being around an animal can lift up your mood and make you feel better after a hard day. What could be the reason for this? Maybe it’s because animals have the biggest hearts in the world filled with a lot of love to share or that they genuinely do care and don’t judge you. No matter the reason, companion pets do and always will bring happiness to the lives of their human families.

Even more than just lifting your mood, animals are known to keep you healthy and balanced in your life. From taking away your stress with a tight hug or daily pets to keeping you on the move by going on walks and playing, companion pets like dogs and cats are fantastic at maintaining your physical and mental health. So, curl up with your furry family member and take a read about some of the ways pets can improve your health and well-being.

1. Pets are natural mood enhancers

There are so many benefits to a human-animal bond that exceeds what is observed on the outside. Pet parents are generally happier, not as lonely, and tend to be more trusting. Companion pets can also give you a sense of meaning and boost your self-esteem, and they provide you with positive mental energy, by raising serotonin and dopamine levels while decreasing cortisol, just from playing or having a snuggle session.

2. Pets are good for your heart

According to the American Heart Association, there is a link between having a pet around, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity. Findings from a study by the National Institute of Health, with heart-related studies on people who have pets, showed that pet owners had decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels which minimizes risk of a heart attack in the future.

3. Pets help fight depression and soothe stress

Gently petting an animal can help to relax and reduce stress levels in both the human and animal. It is believed that an animal’s heart rate slows down and blood pressure drops along with a person’s because of the release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to emotional bonding. “The simple act of petting an animal is known to cause a person’s blood pressure to drop,” said Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University.

4. Pets get you to interact with other people

Pets can help you with your social life! This is particularly true with dog parents due to going out on walks and playing at the public park. People seem to be more inclined to talk if you have a dog with you and the topic of dogs is an excellent icebreaker for conversation starters. Having an interest in animals is a great way to connect with others in social situations and may even help you to overcome your issue with social awkwardness. Not ready to meet new pet people in person? Then go online to social networking sites like,,, or join Facebook groups that are focused specifically on pets and animals!

5. Pets can help children with Autism or ADHD

It is common among children with autism to have sensory issues that can make interacting with people, generally, a challenge. Since animals tend to have the magical ability to easily hold the attention of children with autism, animals are recruited to assist with life changing activities. A part of sensory integration activities helps children get used to the way something feels against their skin, like the feel of a horse or the coat of a dog, which can provide a calming sensation. Children with ADHD can benefit from working with and even adopting a companion pet (with permission and supervision of a parent). Some benefits include: a great way for both pet and child to release energy, being given the task of keeping a pet care schedule helps a child with ADHD to be responsible, and the bond between a companion pet and a child is so strong and loving that children with ADHD learn about self-esteem.

For these reasons and more, companion pets are wonderful to have in your life now and forever.

Image source: Ben Grey/Flickr