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How pets help with stress relief

Posted on 2nd October 2018 by Green Lane Farm Team

Any animal lovers will exclaim just how much they enjoy spending time with their pets. What’s not to like? They’re great companions, they’ll never judge you and they’re always happy to see you. This month Green Lane Farm are here to share with you the facts and figures on just how much pets can help to reduce stress and overall outlook on life.

two kittens lying on top of each other

Pets reduce your cortisol levels
Many cat and dog lovers will tell you that there’s nothing better than coming back home from work to snuggle down with their pet and they’d be quite right too. It’s a well known, scientific fact, that stroking a dog’s or cat’s soft fur reduces cortisol (stress) levels because this activity produces oxytocin – which in turn, tells the brain that you’re in a safe and happy place. The oxytocin hormone lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and not to mention, creates a stronger bond between you and your companion.

girl sleeping with dog on sofa

Health benefits of having pets
Having pets around not only relieves stress but it can also improve your overall health. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs – the lot, have been known to prevent anxiety-related health problems thanks to their cortisol reducing effects. A study has found that being a cat owner reduces the chance of heart attacks and strokes – showing that being a pet owner has psychological and physical benefits.

Comfort in motion
Petting your companion encourages the mind to focus on them. Having a pet at home helps to promote well-being and helps us to overcome feelings of doubt and sadness. Our pets will feel just as comforted too and this will be reflected in their body language, and let’s face it, nothing is more rewarding than hearing a cat purr or seeing a dog wag their tail. When us humans receive positive feedback from our furry family members our bodies release positive endorphins, which our pets can sense.

man wearing red hugging dog

Pets help in stressful situations
As we already know pets help to keep us calm and a study has shown that those asked to do a maths test in front of their pets had a lower heart rate reading, compared to when they were asked to do it in front of their family. Have you noticed a fish tank in your dentist’s waiting room? If so, the idea behind this is to reduce the stress of those who get anxious before having check ups or procedures. Just watching the fish swim around the aquarium has the same effect on most people as stroking your pet does.

Animals can sense how we’re feeling
It’s a well-known fact that animals can sense our feelings. Dogs have the tendency to walk up to you meekly and put their head on your lap and cats will rub their head against you or sit on your lap when you’re feeling low. If you’re best friends with your companion they will pick up on your feelings quickly and it’s likely they will come to you to offer comfort.

girl petting horse in snow

98% of pet owners say that their pet is family
If you’re an animal lover like the majority of us, it’s likely you will consider your pet as part of the family and as we all know, it isn’t just blood that makes a family. A study has shown that 98% of families would consider their pet to be family, which is not surprising since it’s like bringing up a child. Having a pet from a very young age will mean that you have to teach them and build on a relationship of trust. From very early on you will toilet train them, by reinforcing the little box or indoor training pads for pups. You may even have them so early on that you transition them from milk to solid foods.


The lifespan of a pet varies depends on your species and breed but generally:

Dogs live between: 8-18 Years

Cats live between: 10-20 Years

Turtle live between: 30-120 Years

Parrots live between: 80-100 Years

Mice live between: 1-5 Years

Rabbits live between: 6-12 Years

Lizards live between: 3-30 Years

Gerbils live between: 2-4 Years

Fish live between: 1-10 Years

Rats live between: 2-4 Years

Snakes live between: 10-15 Years

Hamsters live between: 2-4 Years

Budgies and cockatoos live between: 10-40 Years

Guinea pigs live between: 4-7 Years

So with this in mind, it’s easy to see how many pet owners consider their companions to be family. Studies have shown that it takes a person 200 hours to consider someone as a close friend, which equates to a little over 8 full days. Compare this to a dog that lives until they’re 18 – that’s 157,680 hours! More than enough time to form an unbelievably close bond.

woman with glasses smiling carrying white fluffy dog

Improved lifestyle
Pets improve our lives in numerous ways including:

  • Improved self esteem
  • Reduced allergies
  • They stabilise our blood pressure
  • Help us in social situations
  • Make us more relaxed
  • Encourage us to exercise
  • Reduce loneliness
  • Pets provide great social support for autistic children
    Children with autism find it easier to integrate with their classmates when they have a pet to focus on, which is why class pets can be a thing in your child’s school. Dogs, cats, hamsters – you name it – help children overcome fears and offers a calming/familiar face to those who are autistic. Animals help all children to be friendlier with each other and work positively together.

    Green Lane Farm is a family-run business with over 50 years of experience caring for all types of animals. We have an excellent reputation because we pride ourselves in the utmost care and time we give to each and every pet that stays here with us. For a trustworthy, attentive service throughout Chessington, Kingston and Surrey – call our friendly team today!

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