Dog Lifestyle

Can pets help with depression and anxiety

According to @projecthappiness if you experience depression and anxiety you are not alone and depression and anxiety are causes of human suffering globally. In the US, 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from depression or anxiety in a given year, and in youth that number rises to 1 in 3.Depression is an unpleasant state we all experience at times. 

Fortunately, a pet can help us resolve those lonely, depressive and anxious feelings. We talk here about how pets make us happy but here’s how pets can help people with depression:

  • Pets can improve some of the physical markers of depression by reducing high states of anxiety.
  • Pets help people establish social interactions and connections.
  • Pets can act as a buffer in social situations that might feel uncomfortable for people with depression.
  • Pets can encourage daily interaction and growth of social networks that can protect against low mood.
  • Caring for a pet can build self-efficacy.


  • The unconditional love her pets help people navigate the dark days of depression


How do pets help with depression?

Pets help with depression by offering reassurance and companionship to people experiencing depression and low mood. Benefits of pets have been found in people of all life situations, genders and ages. 

Taking care of a pet builds self-esteem. It also offers reassurance that you can care for another creature and for yourself. It gives you purpose, makes you feel wanted, and helps you to get rid of depression.

Being around pets helps us feel good and also helps us to relax. Being around pets releases a rush of oxytocin. Pet owners get an oxytocin spike when looking into their pets’ eyes. Oxytocin, the love hormone, is linked to social bonding, social skills and helps to alleviate depression. It is the same hormone that floods a mother with love when she sees her baby.

Should I get a pet if I’m depressed?

According to Steve Feldman, the executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), “Many mental health professionals and doctors informally recommend animals to patients, especially for loneliness and depression.” 

This is because pets make it easier for us to interact with the world. The responsibilities entailed in the human-pet relationship can provide important benefits that lessen the burden of depression.

Can dogs sense depression?

It is very possible that dogs are able to sense depression in humans. They are gifted with the unique ability to sense your emotions. 

Dogs can respond in an affectionate way to their owners in order to cheer them up. Some studies suggest that dogs can also smell hormone production and the rise and fall of different brain chemicals.

What pets are good for depression?

The most common emotional support pets for depression are dogs and cats. Keep reading to find out which pet might be the right fit for you:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Rabbits 
  • Birds
  • Hamster

Ultimately, the best pet for depression depends largely on an individual’s personality and preferences.

Wrapping up


Depression is a common issue in the USA, affecting about 40 million people. Regular exercise, healthy diet, spending more time with family members, close friends and pets are few of the ways to help you feel better.  If you are asking if pets help with depression and how pets help with depression and anxiety we hope you learned more here and will investigate if a pet is the right choice for you to support you in reducing depression and anxiety.  


Pets bring happiness into your life. Depression and anxiety are often no match for the unconditional love they provide.


We truly believe in the supportive power of pets.  Read more about how pets can support us.

Read more about how pets make us happy here

Read more about how pets improve our mental health here.