With a degree in medicine, Christie Mensch serves as a psychiatrist at Wyandot Center, where she provides outpatient health services for adults. One of Christie Mensch’s interests is how pet therapy assists in treating depression.
According to Ian Cook, PhD, studies show that animals can improve moods and reduce tension. As such, pets can be a benefit to individuals who struggle with mild to moderate depression.
A pet companion can help bring a sense of value and focus to one’s life. For those who feel they don’t have the time to take on the responsibility, taking care of a pet can be a reminder that they are capable and can do more than they think, suggests Dr. Cook. Aside from the responsibility, the physical activity involved with raising an animal can reduce depression. For instance, dogs need to be walked often. By getting out with their dogs, owners can stretch their muscles and increase their heart rate, which in turn improves their mental and physical health.