Five Reasons Why Pets are Good for our Emotional Well-Being

two dogs on a bed leo and luckys

As more folks find themselves isolated at home during this challenging time, many are turning to animal shelters for furry companionship, or to find a way to give back to their community. More people are fostering pets, which gives prospective adopters more information about how a pet will behave in a home, and increases the chances the pet will be adopted. These positive trends are leading to animal shelters finding themselves empty – GREAT news!

It is telling that animal shelters and pet care are considered essential services, even in a national emergency. Pets ARE essential. Pets are an integral part of our families, and for many, are an important part of our emotional well-being. Have you ever wondered why pets have such positive impacts on our lives? The reasons are scientifically proven.

  1. Pets boost our self-esteem by offering unconditional love and support, helping owners to feel wanted and needed. A study in the Journal of Personality and Psychology showed that pets boost confidence and make their owners more socially outgoing and conscientious people – cats and dogs change us, for the better.
  2. Pets need plenty of exercise. This requirement promotes their owners’ physical activity and chances of getting out in the fresh air, which naturally boosts mood. Research from Michigan State University shows that people with dogs are 34% more likely to get the recommended amount of weekly exercise than people without dogs. Cats love to play, too – tossing around a rubber mouse or using a laser pointer can be surprisingly animated!
  3. While we may be practicing social distancing now, in general, people with pets are less likely to be socially isolated. Pets support connections among people. Walking a dog often leads to conversations with other dog owners, or families in the neighborhood. Taking a pet to a park promotes similar relationships.
  4. If you think of your pet as your “fur baby,” science has your back. Petting an animal causes an increase in oxytocin, the hormone associated with love and bonding, in both humans and animals. A 2015 study proved that when we gaze into the eyes of our companion dogs, we release oxytocin, and so do they. It’s no wonder we are so bonded to our pets – it’s chemical!
  5. There is no limit to the therapeutic effects a pet can have on their owner. Children with ADHD can benefit from working with and keeping a pet – taking charge of a pet care schedule helps children learn to plan and be responsible, and the exercise requirement can help expend excess energy. Folks with autism often find it calming to work with animals; canine or equine therapy is frequently recommended for people on the spectrum. Adults with Alzheimer’s are thought to have fewer anxious outbursts with an animal in the home. Ask your healthcare professional for their advice about a pet for your loved one.

If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, always make sure everyone in your household is on board and that you’re ready for the lifelong commitment of pet ownership. Remember, Leo&Lucky’s offers a 10% discount for supplies for your newly adopted pet with adoption paperwork. Thank you for adopting (or fostering!)

We offer three ways to shop local with Leo&Lucky’s: in-store, with free touchless curbside pickup, or free delivery on orders $49+. Call 941-776-0770 to order for pickup or delivery. Coming soon: a fully shoppable online store! Stay tuned and thank you for supporting local businesses.

Nicole Apostle is the marketing director at Leo&Lucky's.