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Does My Mood Affect My Pets|woman holding pet|mood with pet


Does My Mood Affect My Pets?

All pet owners know that their fur babies experience emotions. Otherwise, how do people explain the optimistic exuberance of a dog running full-tilt in an attempt to catch a bird that he has no chance of ever reaching? That’s why our moods have a genuine impact on our pets.

Pet instinctively understand when people need extra snuggles and kisses, and the benefits humans experience from that contact can be very uplifting.

According to a survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74 percent of pet owners have said that having a pet improved their mental health. In fact, pets can be as effective at relieving stress like exercise, meditation, and aromatherapy. 1

But pets can have emotions aside from those of their human companions.

woman holding pet

Sadness and Grief

If you think that you’re the only one who experiences sadness when the days grow shorter, you’re wrong. Your pet can grow just as despondent as you when the skies turn grey, day after day.

According to Tufts University professor Nicholas Dodman, most things that affect humans in the psychological or psychiatric arena are usually discovered to also affect pets.

For instance, a British survey of pet parents found that dogs sleep more and cats have less energy during the winter months, although symptoms tend to dissipate with the arrival of spring. 2

And while grief is experienced differently in pets, animals do experience sorrow when a pack member passes away. Their symptoms may be similar to those of their human counterparts.

Dogs or cats may sleep too much, lose their appetite, and feel symptoms of anxiety. A 1996 study from the ASPCA found that 66 percent of dogs experienced four or more behavioral changes after a death in the family, and most did not return to normal for up to six months. 3

mood with pet

How Do Pets Relieve Human Stress?

Pets recognize when humans are stressed, and they often act on it, curling up closer to people—offering comfort the only ways they know how.

But even as pets can ease our stress and anxiety, we can inadvertently amplify theirs. Understand that if you’re prone to stress, your pet will likely have a bit of anxiety as well.

Dogs with nervous, stressed-out owners can develop separation anxiety as well as other issues, especially if the stressed-out parent is in charge of daily walks.

The mood you are in travels through the leash and your pet recognizes it. If you feel anxious or nervous, your dog will feel the need to step in and take charge, and training could become difficult.

Helping your nervous pet develop healthy self-esteem and finding some self-esteem of your own can be a helpful way for easing both canine and feline stress.

Photo credits: JopsStock/, RomanovaAnna/, OlenaYakobchuk/,

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