Health and Happiness Benefits of Pet Companionship


In November, Dignity Health released the results of a national survey showcasing the healing benefits of pet companionship. Pets are boosting our mood, improving our physical and mental health, and helping us better connect in our personal relationships, according to the survey of more than 1,000 U.S. residents with a cat or dog.

Whether in a hospital or at home, pets can provide the emotional support that people may need, especially in times of stress. In fact, the survey found that those who have a pet turn to their pet first for comfort after a difficult day, before significant others, friends or family members. Additionally, 95% of pet parents said their pet makes them a happier person.

Key Survey Findings Include:

Pets are improving our mental health:

  • 88% shared that their pet has helped to improve their mental health.
  • Those who believe their pet improves their mental health also share their pet has improved the quality of their life (94%).
  • The majority of pet parents (93%) report their pet has brightened a difficult day for them.
  • 62% said their pets are always there to listen during challenging times, whereas only 38% said the same of their significant others and 23% said the same of their friends.

Pets build friendship and improve our social relationships:

  • 64% of pet parents feel that their pet has made them a more social person.
  • 66% report that their pet has made them a better friend to others.
  • 67% of pet parents believe that their pet has taught them skills that have helped to improve their personal relationships.

Pets make us happier and healthier:

  • 95% of pet parents said their pet makes them a happier person and 81% share that their pet has made them a healthier person.
  • 85% of pet parents who have had a major health issue shared that their pet helped to make them healthier.
  • 83% share that their pet has made them a more active person.

Methodology: Dignity Health surveyed 1,000 dog and cat owners over the age of 18 in the U.S. Fielding was executed in August 2019.

We Love Our Dog-tors

At Memorial Hospital, therapy dogs are a welcome addition to patient care and recovery. These four legged volunteers come in a variety of sizes, colors and breeds but they all have one thing in common: canine compassionate healing power.

Our therapy dogs are highly trained and certified by Therapy Dogs International, a non-profit group that oversees regulation, testing and registration of therapy dogs in the United States and Canada. This program is rewarding for both dogs and their owners and is an important part of our Patient and Family Centered Care Program.

To learn more about our Pet Therapy Program visit dignityhealth.org/bakersfieldmemorial/volunteer.