- Depression is an unpleasant mental health condition that many people experiences; fortunately, the best pets for depression can help us resolve those lonely, painful feelings.
- Dogs often prove to be great pets and they come with mental health benefits including stress and anxiety reduction, a boost in self-esteem, and improved social connection.
- Cats are also popular pets; these loving, independent animals have proven to help with loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
- Rabbits are known for their sociability, as well as their long life expectancy—they generate calm and are often used to help patients with mental health problems.
- Birds can also make for a helpful companion, as they are loving as well as intelligent: they are often used as therapy animals, and you can even have a conversation with some of them!
- Finally, hamsters are another good option if you’re looking for a companion pet, as they help with stress.
We all feel lonely sometimes—say, when we’re drowning in work and too busy to hang with loved ones, or after a tough breakup from a significant other. This loneliness is often discouraging and, for some, loneliness transforms into depression. Sometimes resolving depression isn’t possible by ourselves, especially when our friends and family members are busy, or we’re too swamped to schedule meaningful time with others. In these instances, a mental health professional is crucial to recovery.
But in addition, a pet can be especially helpful. If you’re currently experiencing feelings of depression, the good news is that may be an animal companion out there that suits your lifestyle and needs. They’re some of the best listeners on the planet ( they rarely talk back or interrupt) and they’ll never get sick of spending time with you. Keep reading to determine which pet might be the right fit for you.
1. Dogs: Man’s Best Friend
Where do we even begin? Dogs are the most beloved creature on the planet, and one of the best pets for depression (though cats certainly give them a run for their money). Most people wouldn’t even question this statement, but if you need some convincing: they’re happy, they’re playful, they’re goofy, they’re loving. Not to mention they offer mental health benefits:
- They’re scientifically proven to lower stress in their humans.
- They can help their owners to conquer anxiety.
- They boost our sense of self-esteem.
- They support social connections.
If you are ready to commit to a new pet (and best friend), a dog might be the perfect companion. They’ll help you resolve your lonely feelings and offer you a life full of love and happiness.
2. Cats: Friendly Felines
Out of the best pets for depression, cats are a close runner-up. They are one of the most common companion pets in the world because they’re extremely loving, but most cat owners love them for their independent nature too. Cats have been known to help with loneliness, anxiety, depression, and more, just like dogs. If you’re looking for a pet that requires a little less attention, a cat might be your best bet. They still make for great companions, but they’re also okay with being alone for a while.
3. Rabbits: Social Butterflies
While dogs and cats get most of the attention and applause, a rabbit is also one of the best pets for depression. They’re extremely social and easily adapt to human companionship. In comparison to most small pets, they also have one of the longest life expectancies. Rabbits are often used in animal therapy and visit different mental health wards to generate calm among the patients. If you’re new to pets, a rabbit might suit you best as they are low maintenance (like cats), but they’re also there when you need them.
4. Birds: Chatty Cathies
Birds probably aren’t the first animals that come to mind when you think of the best pets for depression, but these creatures are actually extremely loving and intelligent. In fact, many birds have been specifically bred to become human companions, and who doesn’t want a pet that you can actually have a conversation with? For years, birds have been used as therapy animals, as they can provide many mental health benefits, just like the animals that precede them on this list.
5. Hamsters: Helpful Rodents
I mean, how could you not love something with a face like that? They may be rodents, but they are the most adorable rodents you can own, and they’re extremely cuddly creatures, too. They’re also great if you’re an extremely busy person as most of them don’t require constant attention, and they excel at entertaining themselves and their owners. A hospital in London even uses Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) to help relax their patients. Their hospital staff has seen a hugely positive effect on patient stress levels, as a result.
If you’re looking for a companion pet, hopefully, this list helps you find one that fits the bill. In our humble opinion, you can’t go wrong, as all of the pets above can positively influence your mental health. These best pets for depression may help you to resolve your lonely feelings by reducing the emotional impact of depression, anxiety, stress, and more.