How Our Pets Help Us Relieve Stress

Sunya Chay, Staff Writer

Saint Martin’s student Haley Turner poses with her dog, Loki. Photo courtesy of Haley Turner

With finals fast approaching, stress levels for many students are going up, and it can be hard to find ways to relieve stress. However, others turn to their furry friends.

There have been many studies about how pets can help reduce stress. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), about 67 percent of families own a pet, making them one of the most common parts of a home. 

For students like Haley Turner, a first-year business major, her pet helps her feel less stressed.  Turner’s Boston Terrier Doxen mix named Loki is silly and playful. Loki also helps Turner relieve her stress by sitting right next to her and cuddling.

“I do think that Loki is a good way to help me relax. There’s so much unconditional love and happiness from him,” Turner stated. 

There have been many studies done about how our pets help reduce our stress levels. There is a stress hormone in our bodies called cortisol that decreases as we pet animals. According to an article from Science Daily, “Just 10 minutes can have a significant impact,” said Patricia Pendry, an associate professor in Washington State University’s Department of Human Development. “Students in our study that interacted with cats and dogs had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone.”  

According to an article by HelpGuide, “Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.” Pets can help lower depression for their owners as they provide companionship. 

Doing activities with our pets can help relieve stress, as well. This could be going on a walk or being outside in general and getting fresh air because you are able to be in another environment where your brain does not have to be working. 

Staff at Saint Martin’s University have hosted past events that included animals. Reine Albite, a second year student, attended one such event last year. “It was super fun. It was at the TUB, there were so many different breeds of dogs. I remember going around and meeting different professors and their pets,” said Albite. 

There are many factors to stress, but taking the time to interact with a pet may help reduce it. As final exams quickly approach, interacting with a pet may help keep stress at bay. 

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