The presence of pets increases feelings of happiness, security and self-worth and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation on a daily basis (Sable P., 1995).
Pets can benefit human health in 4 ways: as builders of social capital, as agents of harm reduction, as motivators for healthy behavior change, and as potential participants in treatment plans (Hodgson et al., 2015). Evidence shows that pets have beneficial health effects and can affect people in a positive way(Picard Mariah J.,2015). Pets may also induce positive feelings that are not brought in by one’s close friends during a stressful task (Allen et al.,1991). Siegel found that pet owners reported that pets helped them in times of stress and also had fewer contacts with doctors than non-pet owners. Pets presence is also important for the social and cognitive development and help children who have problems understanding new language and starting school (Hergovich et al.
, 2002). Epley, Akalis, Waytz and Cacioppo (2008) found that when people feel lonely they are more likely to talk to their pets about it to feel more connected. In families with dogs the children develop trustful relationships with companion animals and often communicate with their pet instead of other humans (Andrea Beetz et al.,2012).
Pets may provide well-being benefits for their owner if they are “psychologically close” to their owner (McConnell et al. 2011).Mental health is a fundamental to good health and quality of life. It is a resource for everyday life, which enables us to manage our lives successfully and contributes to the functions of individuals, families, communities and society(Barry et., 2009). According to the World Health Organization (2004), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
It has also declared positive mental health to be the foundation for well being and effective functioning of both individual and community.