Looking to Improve Your Mental Health? A New Research Survey Shows Getting a Pet Will Do Just That

Updated: Mar. 20, 2023

Discover how pet owners experience mental health benefits thanks to their four-legged friends.

We’re connected to our pets in so many ways—for instance, if you have a dog, a recent study revealed that you probably have similar personalities. Pets offer a loving presence in our lives, and if you’ve ever experienced a mood boost after spending time with your furry friend, you’re not alone. A recent American Psychiatric Association (APA) study revealed that having a pet positively impacts Americans’ mental health. And whether you consider yourself a dog or cat person, you’ll be happy to discover the benefits of both are the same.

How was this study conducted?

This study was conducted between Feb. 10 and 12, 2023, with the help of Morning Consult. About 2,200 adults were polled, and the study has a margin of error of plus or minus 2% points, which is a testament to just how reliable this information is.

The majority of those polled were pet owners. Fifty percent of survey respondents had dogs, 35% had cats and 3% had other pets such as turtles, fish and birds. Thirty-one percent of those polled did not own a pet. For the sake of this study, the APA focused on those who own pets. And as you may have guessed, the results were telling.

What were the results of the study?

Young Adult Man Playing With Samoyed Dog And Swinging At The Chain Swing TogetherElena Popova/Getty Images

Most (86%) pet owners surveyed shared that their four-legged friends positively impact their mental well-being. Interestingly enough, both cat (86%) and dog owners (87%) were likely to say this, while those who own other types of pets were a bit less likely (62%).

Another significant finding of this survey was that a vast majority (88%) of people with pets consider their animals part of their family.

What are some of the key benefits that pets bring to our mental health?

There are a few main ways our pets positively impact our mental health. For starters, 69% of respondents who said their four-legged friend boosts their mental health indicated that they help relieve anxiety and stress. A majority of respondents also feel that their pet offers companionship, provides support and unconditional love (69%) and is a calming presence in their life (66%). Additionally, 63% feel that their pets are true friends.

While our pets don’t always show affection the same way we do, it’s clear that pets bring true joy to our lives. Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with these things your pet wishes you knew so you can be the best owner possible, and give your dog an extra pet today to thank them for all they do for you!