owner embracing cat

Five ways pet ownership benefits your mental health

Studies show that pets can have huge benefits to your mental health, from childhood to old age.

The impact of pet ownership


of adults confide in their pet


say owning a pet has improved their mental health


of cat owners felt a positive impact on their wellbeing

We’re dedicated to helping your pet live a long, happy and healthy life and your pets could be doing the same for you.

1. They’re great listeners

Our pets are always there for us, and we often get the impression they know when we’re feeling down or upset. Maybe that’s why according to research conducted by the University of Melbourne, around 50% of adults and 70% adolescents who own a pet regularly confide in them.

2. They can help reduce the effects of depression and loneliness

A pet offers a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for owners, helping them live mentally healthier lives. In particular, the regular exercise from walking a dog can be beneficial for owners with depression.

Pets also offer company and someone to share the day with, which is incredibly valuable to owners who experience loneliness, particularly in later life.

3. They can help children with autism and ADHD

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), pet therapy sessions have shown to increase social functions, decrease isolation and improve independence in children with autism.

Similarly, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can benefit from keeping a pet. By taking charge of feeding, walking and bathing, they can learn to plan and take responsibility. The exercise that playing with a pet offers also releases excess energy to help children feel calmer at night.

4. They help us in later life

Pets can be highly beneficial to the elderly, particularly those with dementia. Dog-assisted therapy has been shown to improve mood, psychosocial functioning and quality of life in people with dementia.

Many care homes have resident pets, or receive regular visits from animals as part of their recreational schedule; not only do they create a calmer, more homely environment for residents, it’s thought that they reduce anxiety in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

5. They support our overall well being

According to HABRI, 74% of pet owners say that owning a pet has improved their mental health. Studies show that human-animal interaction increases oxytocin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of calm, comfort and focus.

Not only that, but a study of over 600 cat owners by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation found that 87% felt owning a cat had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could better cope with life thanks to the company of their pet.

Find your nearest practice

Find your nearest practice


Pet Care & Advice

At Medivet, we’re committed to providing trustworthy, expert advice that helps you care for your pet.


Find out the latest news from across the Medivet community, from local practice updates to national charity activities.