Pet power: Why owning a pet is good for your health
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Pet power: Why owning a pet is good for your health

Studies show that taking care of the pets in our life also supports our own health and wellbeing.

88% of New Zealanders say pets help to improve health and wellbeing

Pet ownership spiked around the world through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s not hard to see why. An animal in the home can certainly spark joy in uncertain, lonely times. But pets bring many other benefits to our lives, too.

Improved fitness

This one is mostly for the dog owners among us. Taking a dog for their daily walk really racks up the health benefits, what with all that extra exercise and fresh air – and better physical health has knock-on benefits for our mental wellbeing, too.

Better heart health

Some studies suggest owning a pet can lead to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels1.

Less stress

Cuddling or playing with our pets releases oxytocin, the hormone also known as the “love drug”, which helps ease feelings of stress or anxiety2.

A healthy routine

Caring for an animal each day can have positive spin-offs for wellbeing, as it gives people a routine and sense of purpose.


Owning a pet can help keep loneliness at bay. Exercising pets like dogs can create opportunities for people to meet others and socialise, too, which is also important for our overall wellbeing.


1 Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Warwick P Anderson PhD, Christopher M Reid MSc, Garry L Jennings MD

2 The Role of Oxytocin in the Dog–Owner Relationship, Sarah Marshall-Pescini, Franka S. Schaebs, Alina Gaugg, Anne Meinert, Tobias Deschner, and Friederike Range

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