Pets Can Help With Depression For Some

Pets generally make people happy, and a new Portuguese study finds adopting a furry friend can relieve depression symptoms in 12 weeks among those who do not respond to treatment. Researchers looked at 33 people with depression who had not previously responded to medication or therapy. None of the participants owned pets before the study, and 18 adopted one dog during the study, seven adopted two dogs, and one adopted a cat. The results suggest adopting a pet significantly improves symptoms of depression after just weight weeks, and after 12 weeks those with pets felt less affected in their day-to-day lives by their condition. Control participants who did not adopt pets saw no improvement in their depression symptoms. Dog in particular are thought to ease depression by forcing people to be physically active and encouraging them into new social situations.