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Managing Stress By Spending Time With Pets

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Spending time with pets means engaging in various activities with the animals you keep for companionship, such as petting, stroking, hugging, grooming, and feeding them. A study involving university students found that interacting with pet dogs significantly reduces depression and anxiety, and increases happiness scores.

This Managing Stress By Spending Time With Pets handout focuses on the importance of seeking support from pets. It starts by sharing research about the effects of pets and animals on stress and mood. The acronym PETS is then introduced to remind clients of the various ways pets can help.

Kids and teens can learn an alternative way of dealing with stress, plus the time they spend with pets can be an opportunity to exercise and develop a sense of responsibility. As an additional tip, suggest activities they can do with their pet. Kid-friendly ideas include playing fetch, story time, and nature walks.

Discover this handout and other research-based ideas for stress relief in our 39-page Stress Management Handouts Bundle.

*This item is an instant digital download. A link to download your files will be emailed to you once payment is confirmed.

Want more resources like this? Check out our full catalog of stress management worksheets and handouts.


  1. Thelwell E. L. R. (2019). Paws for Thought: A Controlled Study Investigating the Benefits of Interacting with a House-Trained Dog on University Students Mood and Anxiety. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(10), 846. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100846
  2. Kertes, D. A., Li, J., Hall, N. J., Hadad, N. A., Wynne, C. D. L., & Bhatt, S. (2016). Effect of pet dogs on children’s perceived stress and cortisol stress response. Social Development, 26(2), 382–401. https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12203
  3. Machová, K., Procházková, R., Vadroňová, M., Součková, M., & Prouzová, E. (2020). Effect of Dog Presence on Stress Levels in Students under Psychological Strain: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(7), 2286. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072286
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  • File: PDF
  • Size: 8.5" x 11"

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