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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

How Pets Ease the Stress of Winter Blues

Even during the dark, damp days of winter, I distract my owners from their depressing doldrums. Cuddles is my name. Let me tell you how pets can brighten your dullest moods.

  1. The Awww Factor

Just seeing an adorable pet immediately brings a smile to your face. How can you feel angry, sad, anxious or guilty when you watch our cute, innocent expressions –especially when we are doing something not so innocent or cute?

  1. Soothing Touch Therapy

Nothing calms your mind, body and spirit better than softly stroking your pet’s tummy or forehead. Unlike many humans, we pets happily express our gratitude for your kind gestures. We never say “What have you done for me lately?”

  1. Good Role Modeling

Just watch your pet take a refreshing nap. Notice how incredibly peaceful and comfortable your pet seems while he sleeps soundly. We don’t ruminate about where we will get our next meal; we trust that you will provide it for us. And credit-card bills?  What are those?

  1. Short Walks

Boost your mood by taking us out for a short walk to do our business. The brisk, cold air rejuvenates your tired body before you know it. Plus, you might get lucky and get a bit of sunshine as well. Of course, the downside is picking up our poop –we never promised you a rose garden here.

  1. Inner Kitten or Puppy

One of the best ways to ease stress is to laugh. And it’s easy to laugh while watching your pet’s antics. Okay, maybe it’s not so funny to clean up our messes or repair the damage we cause.  But cmon!  We only get into mischief to amuse you.

  1. Faithful Companion

While you relax in front of a 10,000 lux light to ease seasonal affective depression, we will sit by your side to offer support and distraction.

  1. Attentive Learning

Dogs enthusiastically learn tricks to score treats.  Cats will perform tricks too . . . when they want to. However, all pets learn how to get their owner’s attention, especially at meal time.

  1. Leftover Disposal

Tired of that bland turkey burger or tuna casserole, but don’t want to tell the cook? Chances are good that Fido or Fifi will relieve you of your leftovers – with no trace of detection.  However, make sure you get take your Vitamin D3 and Omega 3 supplements to relieve your winter blues – we will not eat those.

  1. Unconditional Love

No matter your mood or inattention or cross words, we still love you.


There is much research to suggest that pets benefit owners in a variety of ways.  Here is a great summary article from the Huffington Post on these benefits.  Just remember, winter will be over in less than 12 weeks!  Then you and your pets can stomp in the mud puddles of spring.

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How Pets Ease the Stress of Winter Blues

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2019). How Pets Ease the Stress of Winter Blues. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Jan 2019
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