Healing hounds-and various other beautiful beasts-can have such an amazing effect on our health and well-being. Research shows that just looking into the eyes of your pet can lower your heart rate (aw) and their presence alone can provide calm and reassurance if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Snuggling, petting and playing with your pet can bring down our stress-related hormones, even just after a few minutes of interaction, as well as raising our ‘happiness hormones’, seratonin and dopamine. Human-animal interaction also increases oxytocin levels, which results in a sense of calm.

A study of over 600 cat owners by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation showed that 87% of owners felt that owning a cat had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could better cope with life thanks to the company of their pet.

Dog-assisted therapy has been shown to improve mood, psychosocial functioning, and quality of life in people with dementia, and having animal visitors to residential care homes, or even hospices has been shown to be soothing and reassuring for patients, as well as reducing anxiety in people with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Pets can also be a great help to autistic people, in that the kind of unconditional relationship that we might form with a pet can help us to build our confidence and social skills. In fact, having our pet with us, giving moral support, can create a sense of calm that can help us to navigate difficult situations more easily (I know that I always feel more reassured with Hoggle around).

Speaking of companionship, pets can help with feelings of loneliness, not just in that they are someone for us to share our day with, but they can also present opportunities for us to meet new people. Additionally, having to walk, feed and care for our pets can help us to shape a daily routine that gives us a sense of purpose and achievement that can help us to feel more grounded and focused.

As if they weren’t already loveable enough, eh?!

Tell me about your pets in the comments 🙂







Hoggle, ready to huggle