Pets are often great icebreakers, either as conversation starters when in social situations or as a great way to meet people. If you frequently take your dog to dog parks or training classes then you're exposed to more people than you would be otherwise. People love to chat about their furry friends and it could be a great way to make new friends.
Touch and affection can promote healing for those with depression. Not everybody is comfortable with physical touch or being that close with other people, so having a pet around can offer a similar amount of love and affection. Having a cat purring on your lap or a dog to cuddle can be incredibly calming. The resulting stress-relief can lower anxiety, blood pressure, and release feel-good chemicals in the brain.
Sometimes when we are stuck in a down day it can help to have some form of distraction. Pets can be great distractions through responsibility and comedic relief. Playing with a pet can provide a sense of calm and relaxation and get us out of our heads. Anyone who's had a pet knows they can be a distraction even when you don't want them to be.
Working dogs are fantastic aids for those with depression and other mental illnesses such as severe anxiety and PTSD. They can provide assistance in areas such as psychiatric support, fear management, and treatment related tasks.
Service dogs are trained to provide help such as crowd control, panic prevention, and preventing emotional overload. As far as treatment related tasks, certain dogs can be trained to remind their owners to take medications, which would be of great help to those living on their own.
Pets can be a great way to provide distraction, responsibility, and exercise into your daily routine. They can also provide an outlet of love and affection that can comfort those who suffer from depression.