Pressing Paws on Unhealthy Habits: 7 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Physical & Mental Health

Dogs domesticated twice

Who doesn’t love a little bundle of fur to call their own? Pets are cute creatures that can provide their owners with companionship and affection, even during COVID times. 

But pets do more than just that. Our animal companions have proven to improve both physical and mental health, and with 68% of households having at least one pet, that means most of us are benefiting from animal ownership in ways we may not even realize. 

Signs pet ownership is right for you

Despite the positive mental health effects of having a pet, it’s not a commitment to take lightly. As your pet’s owner, you’re responsible for all of their needs. Before adopting or purchasing a new pet, consider whether your family is truly ready to take on the time and financial burden of caring for an animal. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Everyone in the household is excited and on board, including kids
  • Ample time to train, socialize, and exercise the pet for the next ten or so years
  • Financial stability needed to care for a pet properly
  • An appropriate and comfortable space for the pet to live

You don’t have to do it all alone. For example, if you buy from a breeder like Snowy Pines White Labs (, your contact can help put you on two feet when it comes to caring for your new four-legged family member. And while it takes a lot to raise an animal, it isn’t a one-way street. Your pet can help you as much as you help them. 

Whether your house looks like a zoo or you’re looking to adopt a new addition soon, here are seven ways pets can improve your mental and physical wellbeing

Relieve stress

Pets’ calm demeanors can have a tranquil and stress-relieving effect on their companions and owners. Simply petting an animal can increase the body’s production of dopamine, also known as the “happiness” chemical in the brain. Whether after a long day at school or while you’re working from home, having an animal around can boost your morale. 

Increased physical activity

Dogs especially require regular exercise and walking, which forces their owner to leave the house once in a while. For those who spend most of their time sitting behind a desk all day or otherwise leading a sedentary lifestyle, this additional exercise is a free and easy way to increase regular physical activity. 

Lower blood pressure and cholesterol

Research shows that hypertension patients can cut their blood pressure response to stress in half just by owning a pet. To that point, the NIH found that having a pet can also decrease cholesterol, a primary contributing factor to heart disease. 

Decreased depression

By adding joy and routine to everyday life, pets can also decrease the symptoms of depression. The positive bond created between pet and owner boosts self-esteem, and some animals can even be trained to act as emotional support for those with depression and anxiety. 

Enhanced socialization

Dogs often trigger people to come up and socialize, which can be beneficial for those with social anxiety. Pets are a great way to break the ice in social settings in a non-intimidating way, making them especially helpful for those with trouble making friends.

Reduced allergy risk among children

Some scientists believe that children who have a pet while young have a reduced risk of developing a pet allergy later in life. That means that enjoying animal companionship early on sets your little ones up for a lifetime of respecting animals and nature. 

Reduced anxiety

Companionship provided by a pet helps manage anxiety, provides comfort, and builds self-confidence. After all, it’s hard to keep spiraling about your latest work deadline when Fido wants to go for a walk in the park. 


Pets are powerful little creatures, and whether people realize it or not, they have a profound impact on their owners’ everyday lives and mental and physical health

These four-legged friends can ease anxiety and depression, help people navigate social situations more confidently, and provide a unique companionship that builds self-esteem and helps people focus on the positive. 

Be well, and remember to give your pet a few head pats today on doctor’s orders.

Interesting Related Article: “4 Amazing Health Benefits of Having a Pet