Why do pets make us happy?
Why do pets make us happy?
Being around domestic pets makes us happy because it can impact levels of certain chemicals in the human body. Patting a pet or simply watching pet videos has been shown to rebalance various hormones in your body, leading to increased happiness, relaxation and wellbeing. Studies show that just watching videos of cats getting up to mischief is an effective mood stabiliser! Ask any pet owner or pet sitter and they will tell you about the joy and laughter pets bring them, even in difficult times.
Here’s some of the science behind why pets make us happy, and why spending time with your pet can help you maintain good mental health:
Pets reduce stress
Studies have shown that contact with domestic pets increases levels of the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is responsible for feelings of love, bonding and wellbeing: it is also released when human beings snuggle, and during different stages of pregnancy and motherhood. So now you know why you really are in love with your pet!
Pets are good for your health
Getting out for a brisk walk with your dog is a great way to get into a regular exercise routine, which studies show is an effective tactic in preventing and minimising depression. But even simply patting a cat or dog is shown to manage the hormone cortisol, which can be helpful if you feel stressed or are facing difficult times. Managing cortisol can help to reduce anxiety and depression, minimise heart disease and maintain stable sleeping patterns.
Pets give you a sense of purpose
Maintaining a stable daily routine is beneficial for your mental health, and owning a pet can help you to establish a solid routine. Getting up, feeding your pet, taking them for a walk and showing them affection gives a healthy structure to your day and is a nice reminder that you really are the centre of your pet’s world. The sense of purpose and responsibility this can bring to your day is very fulfilling and can help you take better care of yourself, too.
Pets reduce loneliness
Have you ever talked to your pet? This is actually a really healthy habit. Offloading your deepest thoughts to your pet is pretty common amongst pet owners: a cat or dog may not understand every word you say, but their responsive sounds, eye contact and body language makes it clear they can ‘listen’ in their own way. Your pet won't judge you and will keep your secrets safe. Plus, having a chat with them gives you a chance to process your innermost thoughts out loud.
Pets connect you to other people
Owning a pet immediately connects you to an animal-loving community. Pets are amazing ice breakers when meeting new people, whether online when you share images of your fur kids, or out and about on a dog walk. Pet owners love to talk about their pets and share stories: follow our Instagram and Facebook and send/tag your own pet so we can all marvel at how cute they are!