Dog Companionship for Better Mental Health

May 14, 2020
Social Distancing Support

Scientific studies are finally documenting what dog owners have known for centuries – pet companionship improves your mental health. Research shows that human-animal interaction provides a host of mental and emotional benefits, such as facilitating social situations, improving well-being, and reducing depression. These sanity boosts can lead to better physical health as well. 


During this moment of so much social distancing and isolation, it’s important to lean on the positive effects companion animals are having on their housebound owners. Mars Petcare teamed up with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) to conduct a national study involving pet owners and non-pet owners. 


Here’s what we found:

  • 85% believe that pets help reduce loneliness
  • 76% believe that pets improve social isolation conditions
  • 72% believe that human-animal interaction benefits the community in general


Speaking to the pet-owners only, we learned:

  • 80% agree that their pet makes them feel less lonely
  • 54% agree that their pets help them connect with other people


Even before these stay-at-home orders took effect, social isolation and loneliness were already a growing public concern. Half of the population aged 85 and older live alone. One-third of the population aged 65 and older live alone. There’s a reason many hospitals, doctors’ offices, and healthcare facilities incorporate pets in their treatment plans. We need to bond with another being to find the path to our joy. We need social relationships. Fortunately, these 4-legged furballs we love so much are more than just pets. They’re true friends. And we’re all better together.


We know you didn’t need a research study to tell you that. But it’s nice to know the science backs it up. 


Additionally, to honor National Pet Month, we’re supporting BISSELL Pet Foundation™ in their mission to get animals out of shelters and rescues and into the loving homes of pet parents everywhere. Let’s celebrate our pets who are the true heroes of this new normal by providing comfort, joy and companionship to us all.