It's Official: Pets Benefit Our Mental Health

By Ana Sandoiu

An increasing amount of research is pointing to the benefits of pets for people with mental health issues.

For instance, a large study interviewed people living with conditions such as depressionschizophreniabipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The findings revealed that having a pet offers people a deep sense of "ontological security" — that is, the feeling of stability, continuity, and meaning in one's life.

Another study that we reported on described the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which encouraged parents to get their children a pet; having a dog staved off anxiety and was linked to a lower body mass index (BMI).

Now, a systematic review of these studies — and more — analyzes the evidence suggesting that pets benefit people with serious mental health problems.

The review was led by Dr. Helen Louise Brooks, from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and the findings were published in the journal BMC Psychiatry

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