7 Scientific Ways Having A Pet Makes You A Better Person

Pets aren't just great for snuggling — they actually make you a better individual.

Last updated on May 25, 2023

woman cuddling with dog and family khrystyna boiko / Shutterstock

The great pet debate has been going on for years and divides people into two categories: those who have pets and those who don't.

Pets provide companionship and they will love you unconditionally. They are also a good way for couples to see how they work together raising a child. Pets can even improve your relationship.

When you are in a relationship, it's easy to rely on your partner to soothe you. But your partner may not always be available in the way you want. This is where a pet can be helpful.


But aside from offering comfort and making you feel loved, pets may actually make you a better person.

RELATED: What The Type Of Pet You Choose Says About Your Personality

Does having a pet make you a better person?

Yes, having a pet can make you a better person, mostly because it forces you to practice empathy. Having a pet can contribute to personal growth and development, potentially making you a better person.


Interacting with pets promotes empathy and compassion, enhancing your ability to care for and understand others. Taking responsibility for a pet's well-being fosters discipline and accountability, which can extend to other areas of your life.

The companionship and unconditional love provided by a pet can improve mental well-being, leading to increased happiness and an overall positive outlook on life.

If you're not convinced yet, here are 7 reasons why having a pet makes you a better person.

1. Pets help you get a better night's sleep.

Studies have found that people report getting better sleep when they have a pet beside them. According to the study's findings, "Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog's position on/off the bed made a difference. A dog's presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected."

Many people suffer from sleep deprivation, but because sleep is incredibly important to your physical and mental health, the best thing you can do for yourself is add a pet to the bedroom to get a good night's rest. Getting plenty of rest means you will focus better and boost your mood.


RELATED: 11 Ways You Can Become A Better You In Under One Minute

2. Pets make you nicer.

Pets allow you to interact with other people in more positive ways. Pets are also great at greeting you, which makes you feel better, making you a much nicer person.

3. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from a mood disorder.

Studies have found that pets are good therapy. They can decrease anxiety and depression, and also encourage playfulness and exercise. Pets help you feel more secure and provide valuable companionship. This is good for your brain and your heart.

4. Pets provide physical contact.

Research has shown that you feel better when you have physical contact. Touch is good for you, physically and mentally, and is most especially vital to a healthy relationship.


You can't argue the benefits of touch. It doesn't matter if it comes from another human or your pet. Hugging naturally releases oxytocin, the hormone that reduces stress. It will also boost your levels of serotonin and dopamine.

RELATED: Why People Who Talk To Their Pets Are Smarter Than Everyone Else

5. Pets encourage laughter.

Laughter can keep you healthy, and pets are great resources for something to laugh at. Funny cat videos alone are some of the most watched content on the internet. Laughing over your dog's clumsiness or cuteness will help you stay healthy, both mentally and emotionally.

6. Pets make you live longer.

It's true! A 2022 study found that owning a pet was linked to having lower blood pressure, which reduces the chance of heart disease. The study found conclusive evidence that living with a pet reduces the risk of death from any cause, particularly from cardiovascular causes.


7. Pets create consistency.

Not only does being a pet owner boost happiness, but it also brings responsibility. Adding a little bit of responsibility to your life helps you focus and stick to a routine.

The responsibilities that go with taking care of a pet may seem simple. But they remind you that you can take care of yourself. Pets are like family, so take good care of them. They will only love you more back for it.

RELATED: 15 Huge Signs Of A Pet Obsession That's Way Out Of Control


Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA, and is the founder of Lessons for Love. Her work has been featured in Psych Central, BRIDES, and Prevention.