A pet is perceived as the most important and supportive part of a person’s life. Pets can provide benefits to their owners in many materialistic ways like keeping away burglars or reducing vermin but there is evidence that they can provide psychological benefits (McConnell et al.
, 2011). Animal presence facilitates human social approach, increases the likelihood of social contact and serves as a constructive trigger between strangers and casual acquaintances (Wood et al., 2007).Having a pet may improve social skills, health and emotions as well. (Picard, 2015). Many pet owners also report that their human to human relationships have similar or less intensity than their person to pet relationships, which helps provide support and companionship to make their human partner less stressful and lonely.
(Digard,1994; Spernell, 1996). Gage and Anderson (1985) found that pet owners who experience high levels of stress find interacting with their pet a good stress management practice and animal owners usually turn to their pets for social support in emotionally stressful situations (Andrea Beetz et al., 2012). Pets can be agents of harm reduction, people who who indulge in high risk behaviour can be adamantly unwilling to harm their pet (Hodgson et al., 2015). Pets have been linked to the reduced incidence of psychological conditions; including depression and stress (Wood et al.
, 2007). The presence of pets increases feelings of happiness, security and self-worth and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation on a daily basis (Sable P., 1995). Pets can benefit human health in 4 ways: as builders of social capital, as agents of harm reduction, as motivators for healthy behavior change, and as potential participants in treatment plans (Hodgson et al., 2015). Evidence shows that pets have beneficial health effects and can affect people in a positive way(Picard Mariah J.,2015).
Pets may also induce positive feelings that are not brought in by one’s close friends during a stressful task (Allen et al.,1991). Siegel found that pet owners reported that pets helped them in times of stress and also had fewer contacts with doctors than non-pet owners.
Pets presence is also important for the social and cognitive development and help children who have problems understanding new language and starting school (Hergovich et al., 2002). Epley, Akalis, Waytz and Cacioppo (2008) found that when people feel lonely they are more likely to talk to their pets about it to feel more connected. In families with dogs the children develop trustful relationships with companion animals and often communicate with their pet instead of other humans (Andrea Beetz et al.,2012).
Pets may provide well-being benefits for their owner if they are “psychologically close” to their owner (McConnell et al. 2011).