Pets are Good for You!


With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025, is sharing some of the many mental health benefits of adopting or fostering a dog or cat. 


  • Dogs and Cats Aren’t Only Cute…They Help Our Moods: Pet parents already know their furry companions can make them happier. Studies show that eye contact with your dog can release oxytocin (the love hormone) and dopamine (a neurotransmitter), both of which have been proven to treat both anxiety and depression.  
  • Pets Give You a Routine…And Make You Stick to It! Having a pet means having a set schedule every day. Routines can help people experiencing anxiety and depression because they provide a sense of stability. 
  • Pets Help People Feel Self Worth: Taking care of a dog or cat is a lot of responsibility—especially in the beginning—but it also has proven benefits to your own mental health. It can boost feelings of self-confidence and self-worth, both of which can ease symptoms. 
  • Calming Cats and Dogs: Petting a dog or cat is a quick way to de-stress. Being around pets can lower cortisol, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 


Now is a great time to welcome a pet into your home. Across the country, shelters are struggling with higher intakes, while adoptions and fosters are not keeping pace. This has led to a population imbalance, with more animals in shelters, causing increased strain on shelter staff and the current shelter crisis. With most U.S. shelters at or over capacity, pets are more at risk for being killed due to lack of space. 


“Now is the perfect time to choose the adoption option,” said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “During mental health awareness month, I implore people to get out and help save lives. The plethora of benefits pets provide us with in their all too short lives, can really have a positive impact on our well-being.” 


To learn more about pet adoption and fostering, visit bestfriends.org. 


About Best Friends Animal Society 

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org. 


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