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How Pets Affect Emotional Health

Daniela Patino

Owning a pet can have several positive effects on one’s day-to-day physical and mental health. Having a loyal companion and unconditional love are just a couple of the benefits of pet ownership. 

Animals are known to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be beneficial to children, especially in their social development. According to News in Health, a monthly newsletter of the US Department of Health, children with ADHD showed better social skills, shared more, and showed a decrease in behavior problems when reading to a therapy dog. The newsletter focused on the influence of animals in a classroom environment specifically in students with autism. After only 10 minutes of interacting with a guinea pig their stress levels reduced significantly. Pets can be very practical for children specifically in their development and in school. Students here at Willow Glen High School have a variety of different pets. Through a survey conducted from our WGHS Ram Pages Instagram account we were able to dive deeper into detail, 66% of students reported owning a dog and 41% reported owning a cat. 

Pets provide emotional support, playing a significant role in reducing loneliness for their owners. Caring for a pet creates a purpose, which offers a distraction from feelings of isolation. The bond formed between pet and owner not only reduces loneliness but pet owners also tend to improve mental health and lower stress levels. Spending time with pets increases levels of oxytocin, the love hormone, while also reducing levels of stress. According to our data collected 54% of WGHS pet owners experienced a reduction in anxiety and stress influenced by their pet. Interacting in activities such as playing, petting, or watching over them can provide a sense of calmness and happiness. 

Some of these activities can influence one’s physical health by being a great source of exercise. Walking a dog daily is an excellent way to get your steps in. Keeping active with your pet can help you both stay healthy. A study done by the U.S. Department of Health showed how owning a pet fish was helpful for teens with diabetes. When teens had to routinely tend to their pet fish they created a habit where they would check their glucose levels as well. Animals can play an important role in your health. 

The numerous benefits of pet ownership might spike interest in owning a pet. Adding to that temptation 100% of students who respond to the survey recommend others to get a pet. Although there is a considerable amount of perks that come with owning a pet, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it as well. Whether it’s by reducing stress, providing companionship, or emotional support pets have an important role in one’s overall wellness.


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About the Contributors
Daniela Patino
Daniela Patino, News Writer
Isabella Navarro, Social Media

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