How Pets Benefit Mental Health

The Psych Talk

A recent systematic review conducted by researchers from the universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton looked at 17 international research papers to examine the role pets had on owners with a mental health condition. They found that pets can provide benefits to those with mental health issues.

These are the various ways in which pets can significantly improve the lives of those living with mental illness:

Reduce Anxiety:

Snuggling and stroking your pets has been found to dramatically reduce stress and anxiety. Connecting with your pets releases the hormone oxytocin (related to trust, love and attachment) which helps reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels.

A clinical trial in which hypertensive stockbrokers were randomly assigned to either pet or no-pet conditions found that when put in a stressful situation, subjects in the pet group showed lower increases in blood pressure than did those in the non-pet control condition (Allen, Shykoff, & Izzo…

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