Is a pet your prescription to happiness?

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month which means it’s a great time to talk about how a furry feline friend or a cuddly canine companion can improve your mental wellbeing. It’s safe to say that we all agree that interacting with a pet makes you feel good, but did you know that science backs up those feelings? It’s true! Here’s why:

When you spend time with pets, your production of serotonin increases. Often referred to as the “happiness chemical,” serotonin contributes to wellbeing and happiness. But wait, it gets better! Your production of cortisol, a chemical associated with depression and anxiety, decreases when you interact with pets. So, it’s a scientific fact that pets make us feel good and improve our mood!

Even taking a dog for a walk has mental health benefits. You’ll get that production of serotonin with the added dose of exercise! Regular activity helps reduce stress and is great for your physical health and your mental wellbeing.

It doesn’t stop there. Studies have shown that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, all of which can minimize the risk of having a heart attack down the road. These benefits are thought to be connected with pets’ overall ability to help reduce or at least control overall stress levels.

Another great benefit of pets, specifically dogs, is that they can help improve social interaction. Bringing your pup along to one of Colorado’s dog-friendly parks, restaurants or breweries is a great way to meet new people. Not only are pets a great icebreaker, they are a common denominator in conversations with most people.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect mood booster, with the side effect of improved physical health, then consider adopting a pet! We have pets of all ages, sizes, breeds and temperaments waiting to meet their new families. Visit one of our shelters to meet adoptable pets in person or go to our adoptions page to see all pets looking for homes.