Pet ownership increases activity, helps manage mental health 

With 2021 upon us, many will once again make New Year’s resolution that may or may not stick beyond January. For those looking to increase activity levels while decreasing stress and other mental health ailments, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds the public that pet ownership is the perfect way to improve our overall health in the coming year.

Pets offer us so much more than unconditional love.  They are a tremendous help in keeping us active, mentally sharp and on an even keel. 

A recent study performed in the UK with 3,100 participants ranging from age 40-79 showed that dog owners were consistently more active, particularly during foul weather conditions, and those who reported good overall health were more likely to be dog owners who walked their dogs regularly. 

Walking your dog isn’t the only way to increase activity and improve overall health – pet ownership in general has been shown to improve physical health. According to the CDC, having a pet (dog, cat, etc.) in the home can help decrease blood pressure and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

We all know the importance of being more active, but it’s also important to be mindful of our mental health. Pets can also play a key role in this aspect.

Multiple studies have shown that pets can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Simply petting an animal creates a feeling of security and calmness and is probably the reason many of us interact and pet our animals as soon as we walk in the door after a long day!

Pets can also help tremendously with depression, loneliness, or low self-esteem. Caring for an animal is more than a responsibility – it is a life-long commitment to care for another living being. As our animals grow and thrive, we have a proud feeling of accomplishment.  We are also comforted knowing that our animal is always there for us and wants to reciprocate the love we give them. 

The human-animal bond is powerful and as much as our pets depend on us, we depend on them too. 


The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is an unwavering champion for animals in need, committed to keeping them safe and healthy in habitats and homes. Founded in 1899, ARL provides high-quality veterinary care, adoption, and rescue services; while also confronting the root causes of animal cruelty and neglect through innovative community programs, police investigations, and public advocacy. In 2019, ARL served more than 20,000 animals throughout Massachusetts. ARL is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The Animal Rescue League of Boston does not receive government grants or public funding (with the exception of limited COVID-19 relief funding) and relies on the generosity of our supporters to help animals in need. For more information please visit us online at; and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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