Pets benefit mental health of owners in the U.S., poll reveals

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In our veterinary clinic in Woodbridge we believe that dogs are the best friends. This is a phrase commonly used to describe dogs, and one which rings true with findings from a poll of pet owners in the U.S. saying their animals offer companionship (65 percent), are a true friend (65 percent), and provide unconditional love and support (64 percent).

The recent Healthy Minds Monthly Poll, conducted by Morning Consult for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), was participated in by 2,200 adults on Feb. 6-9. Majority of the respondents (84 percent) say their pets have a mostly positive impact on their mental health. According to the APA statement, this insight is similar to the results of last year’s polling on the same topic.

In out pet clinic in Woodbridge, We believe that a people who do enjoy the company of animals, they can be a source of companionship, comfort, love, and friendship. I routinely encourage adoption of a pet to my patients who struggle with addiction to alcohol, drugs, or technology. We’re also starting to see more and more research around the role that animals can play in recovery from depression and other psychiatric disorders.”

From offering companionship and unconditional love to reducing stress and anxiety, pets can be invaluable sources of comfort and support. These survey results further reinforce the importance of responsible pet ownership and the critical role pets play in our lives.

Those surveyed indicated pets also:
• Provide a calming presence (62 percent).
• Help reduce stress and anxiety (62 percent).
• Encourage them to be physically active (35 percent).
• Add structure to their schedule (29 percent).
• Increase social connections with others (19 percent).

While the positive impact of companion animals was highlighted in the survey, American owners also expressed some concerns about their pets, including aging and death (76 percent), and worrying about their health condition (67 percent) and care when owner travel (67 percent).

Further, of the survey respondents, 72 percent reported having pets at home (52 percent had dogs, 37 percent had cats, seven percent had fish, four percent had birds, and less than three percent had turtles, chickens, horses, snakes, lizards, rabbits, guinea pigs, or hamsters). Of those, one in five (18 percent) said one or more of their pets was certified as an emotional support animal.

For more information on the poll, visit the American Psychiatric Association website.

West Woodbridge Pet Hospital