Ever went to the mall and saw a person with their dog wearing a vest? Did the vest have, “emotional support animal”, written on it? That’s no accident, as it has been found in numerous studies of just how important pets are. In one study, multiple people with severe mental health issues who had pets reported improvement. Despite most studies being constricted mostly to dogs and cats, any pet will do. If you already own a pet or plan on acquiring one, here’s how they’ll help or have helped. 1

Pets Distract

Worrying is easy when it’s just us and our thoughts. On the other hand, it’s a lot harder when you have your pooch with you. Like when your dog wants to play with you, sits next to you, or just caring for it. This all goes hand-in-hand for dealing with depression and anxiety.

It’s exciting to want to own your first pet. Yet, it can be stressful as there are a lot of options. Instead, narrow your search down to pets that are easy to maintain. Some low-maintenance pets are snails, frogs, and hamsters. Even a few insects are easy to take care of, like the praying mantis and stick insects. If you decide to go with one of these pets, be sure to buy multiple as several are very social.

Pets Support You

As humans, we empathize with others by reflecting on their current emotions. For example, you were happy, but now you’re angry after your friend expressed anger; this is called emotional contagion. Shockingly, it has been discovered that cats and dogs understand how we’re feeling as well. Dogs, for instance, are most likely to lick and comfort us when we’re crying. 2

You’ll Always Be Loved

They say dogs are a (wo)mans best friend for a reason. Dogs especially are loyal, affectionate, compassionate, and loving to their owner and family. Being loved by any pet carries a host of benefits. Love is known to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress. This translates into avoiding high blood pressure, better sleep, and even improving your immune system. 3


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320950#Studying-pets-and-mental-health-problems
  2. https://www.livescience.com/63144-dogs-want-to-help-upset-humans.html#:~:text=And%20according%20to%20a%20new,to%20do%20something%20to%20help.
  3. https://uthealthaustin.org/blog/health-benefits-of-love