It’s been well documented that a household pet can be beneficial to people of all ages for a number of different reasons. Almost any kind of pet can help reduce stress, which can contribute to better physical and mental health outcomes. Consider the popularity of therapy pets, which have been known to relieve anxiety among patients before, during and after surgery or during ongoing treatments for physical and emotional ailments. Universities have used this knowledge to introduce opportunities for students to play with puppies and kittens during exam times.
Pets can also have a beneficial impact on the way we interact with each other. For example, pets are recognized for their role in stimulating positive social behavior, from helping develop children’s interactive skills to helping mitigate factors that contribute to loneliness and/or depression among the elderly. It’s also notable that pandemic isolation practices have spurred an increase in pet purchases and adoptions from animal shelters, as families find they have more time to spend together and take on shared interests. It’s only a matter of time before further studies emerge, examining the overall effects of the relationships between humans and their pets.