Research data

The paw-sitive mental health impact of pets

Research finds that pets play a major role in bringing joy and comfort to their owners' lives.

Pet parents have long understood the happiness-boosting power of their pets. Scientists and researchers have started looking deeper into the human-animal bond to explore just what physical and mental health benefits come along with pet ownership. As it turns out, there are many!

What is the Pet Effect?

The pet-owner relationship is a unique bond that provides not only care and affection for the pet, but also comfort, happiness and unconditional love for the owner. That often translates into positive mental health outcomes, including reduced rates of anxiety and depression.

Contented cat sleeping on man's arm

Of pet owners surveyed in Nationwide’s research: 1

  • 95% agreed that their pets have a positive impact on their life
  • 82% said that their pets bring them joy
  • 65% that their pets enhance their mental health

In addition, research from the American Psychiatric Association found that pets positively impact their owners’ mental health, citing several key benefits including:

  • Help reduce stress and anxiety (69%)2
  • Provide a calming presence (66%)2

“People recognize that there is something special about bonds between humans and their pets,” said APA President Rebecca Brendel, M.D., J.D. 2

Mental Health Awareness Month: How pets can help

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an annual opportunity to reflect on how to support, cultivate and protect our emotional well-being. Pets are important partners in that journey—especially when it comes to managing anxiety and depression—as well as a positive force in our everyday lives.

Woman smiling at small dog in her lap

For pet owners, the importance of the relationship with their animal companions can’t be overstated. Pets bring joy, comfort and improved physical and mental health that add to their owners’ lives and help them be their best selves, both at work and at home.

[1] "Honoring the bond: Why supporting pet ownership improves employees' work experience." Nationwide 2023.
[2] “Americans Note Overwhelming Positive Mental Health Impact of Their Pets in New Poll; Dogs and Cats Equally Beneficial,” American Psychiatric Assoc., 2023.

Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet

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