Here are the health benefits of having pets

May 13, 2024, 2:00 PM

People present their pets during an animal fashion show....

Friends, families, and residents of Copper Creek Senior Living present their pets in a fashion show for seniors in honor of National Pet Day in South Jordan on Thursday April 18, 2024. Interacting with animals can benefit mental and physical health, according to experts. (Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

(Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah — You’ve heard it said or maybe you’ve experienced the health benefits of pet ownership, now Utah State University’s Extension is showing exactly why health benefits are associated with having pets.

Caring for a pet can give you a sense of purpose and companionship which may prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness. Research has shown that interacting with a pet can provide people with feelings of joy, nurturing, and togetherness. 

Without a way to lessen isolation or loneliness, the Centers for Disease Control said a person’s mental and physical health can be negatively impacted. For example, feeling lonely can increase the risk of developing heart problems, addiction, and depression. 

Additionally, the sense of companionship someone gains by having a pet can help lower anxiety. Specifically, according to The Animal Health Foundation, being around animals can decrease cortisol.

Cortisol is the hormone that is released into our bloodstream during times of stress

Some pets also prompt their owners to get outside and stay active, per the USU Extension. Physical activity can reduce the risk of a number of diseases and improve your mental health. 

Specifically, the CDC said that regularly playing with your pet or taking them for a walk can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Can I still reap the health benefits if I can’t have pets? 

According to the USU Extension, people without pets can still reap the health benefits that animals can offer to humans.

For example, visiting friends or family members with pets may offer interactions with animals. Signing up as a pet sitter or walker on websites such as Rover could also provide an opportunity to interact with animals. 

Additionally, volunteering at animal shelters or participating in equine therapy can help get humans into closer contact with animals. 




We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


West High Principal Jared Wright with James Yapias in front of west high clinic sign...

Amanda Dickson

Healthcare inside West High School

The West High School Clinic allows students to see nurses, pediatricians, psychiatrists and psychologists right inside their school.

21 hours ago

Jared Dangerfield, Wasatch Adaptive Sports program manager, skis with retired United States Marine ...

Michael Camit

Up to a quarter of Utahns struggle with disabilities, report says

According to a report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, up to a quarter of Utahns struggle with a disability.

23 hours ago

BYU nursing student Jane Pearson smiles before donating her bone marrow in late 2023....

Emma Everett Johnson, KSL.COM

BYU student donates bone marrow to potentially save stranger’s life

BYU nursing student Jane Pearson is donating bone marrow to a stranger through the National Marrow Donor Program.

1 day ago

FILE -- A comfort dog waits for its owner at Salt Lake City International Airport. Experts warn to ...

Britt Johnson

Traveling puts pets at greater risk for canine influenza

Experts warn that now is the time to get pet dogs immunized against canine influenza. 

7 days ago


Michelle Lee

Boost your immune system with good nutrition

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Functional Medicine Nutritionist Karin Reiter to learn how nutrition affects our immune system.

9 days ago

An apple pie surrounded by apples....

Kennedy Camarena

Study shows how processed foods aren’t so great for you

It's always been a pretty well-known fact that processed foods are not that great for people. Now, there's a new study to prove it.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Here are the health benefits of having pets