Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 28 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Stanley Rother
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Do you know all the ways a pet can make you feel better?


Halfpoint - Shutterstock

Javier Fiz Pérez - published on 04/23/18

Thousands of people have benefited from our furry best friends.

We all know that a pet can make your life more pleasant. But today, the field of psychology has become supportive of using pets as a means for therapy because of the benefits they give their owners, and it recommends having a pet for treating various ailments.

Pets help people relate and they increase self-esteem

Perhaps you’re going through a tough time, a moment of anxiety, a painful moment, and suddenly your pet arrives and feels your emotional state. Aware that you need help, he keeps you company.

Anyone can have a pet as a therapeutic helper. But a pet is most helpful for:

  • People with heart disease
  • People with cerebral paralysis
  • Patients with terminal illnesses
  • Patients with mental illnesses
  • Patients with behavior disorders, etc.

There are different ways of doing therapy with animals. It can be done in an individual or group way, adapted to whether the patient is a child or an adult.

The specific method with dogs

Some forms of therapy use dogs who accompany the patient at all times so they won’t feel alone. The dog helps the patient be distracted, and the goal is to reduce the pain or anxiety that the patient may be suffering.

Photo by Erica Magugliani on Unsplash

People often talk to their pets and share their thoughts and feelings with them. Having a dog as a companion brings great therapeutic benefits for older and/or sick people who may suffer depression, for example.

Some of the therapeutic benefits

  • The owner’s well-being
  • Helps the patient to overcome illness
  • Helps overcome the death of a spouse
  • Helps with socialization
  • Reduces the feeling of abandonment
  • Reduces tension and stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Brings joy to the patient’s life

It’s key to remember that an animal will never take the place of a person, but it can substitute for some of the benefits people get from positive interpersonal relationships. Some domestic animals have a type of relational affinity with people that allows them to give emotional support and a constant stimulus, especially in specific cases of some illnesses, and also when loneliness becomes an affliction.

Read more:
The real reason we love our pets so much


Read more:
Why pets are good for your body and soul

This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.

Mental HealthPsychology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.