The 4 Best Small Pets For Anxiety Relief – Rapid Results

Owning a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. Pets offer companionship and unconditional love and can improve your overall health in specific ways. Pets can even reduce anxiety in their owners, and that is why choosing the right pet for you is so important.

The best small pets for anxiety promote increased well-being in their owners, create a nurturing environment at home, and provide companionship. Small pets are great for owners with anxiety, as they tend to require less care and attention than larger breeds but still offer just as much affection.

Choosing the right pet for you can be a daunting task if you’re just starting your search. The following report will outline how pets help to de-stress their owners and will also provide four of the best choices you can make when looking for a pet that is right for you.

How Do Pets Reduce Anxiety?

When we choose the right pet, it can have an almost magical effect on our health, mood, and general well-being. Let’s take a closer look at how this special bond works:

They Promote Increased Well-Being in Their Owners

According to a 2016 study by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners reported improvements in their mental health due to owning a pet. These health improvements result from increased oxytocin in the brain that occurs in humans and animals as they interact. This increase in mood-boosting hormones can have a lasting effect over time.

cat sitting on owners lap

This same study by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute shows that 54% of all pet owners reported an improvement in their physical health due to owning a pet.

They Create a Nurturing Environment in Your Home

Animals also provide the opportunity to create a nurturing environment, which has been proven to aid in the general promotion of human well-being.

a dog having a snuggle

According to a 2012 study published in the peer-reviewed American Psychologist Journal, nurturing environments “teach, promote, and richly reinforce prosocial behavior, including self-regulatory behaviors and all of the skills needed to become productive adult members of society.”

Taking care of a pet allows people to be responsible for something other than themselves, allowing the skills necessary to function in society to become prevalent in their households.

They Provide Companionship

Having a pet in your home provides a constant level of companionship that not all adults can have, depending on their living situation.

Parrot sitting on a shoulder

Pets can promote increased social interactions for people with anxiety by acting as familiar partners.

Top 4 Small Pet Choices for Those With Anxiety

Now you have an idea of all the wonderful benefits a pet can add to your life, and you’re ready to learn more about potential pets that are great at aiding in anxiety relief.

Here are four of the most popular pets chosen for people who suffer from anxiety:

Small Dogs

Most studies conducted about the human-animal bond involve pets of the canine variety. After all, they have been dubbed “Man’s Best Friend” for a reason! Dogs are loyal to a fault, can easily show affection, and can be pretty protective of their owners. Affection and loyalty can create a bond between you and your pet that will work to ease anxiety.

Basset hound sitting

There are several traits to look for when choosing a dog that can help ease anxiety. Friendly, calm, outgoing dogs are better suited for those with anxiety. Constant barking, nipping, and general neediness are not the traits to look for, and these can actually increase stress in your home.

Some breeds fit these criteria, like:

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a dog’s basic needs include many of the same basic needs of all living beings, including regular feeding, grooming, and exercise.

However, something to bear in mind is that dogs require the most upkeep of all the animals outlined on this list. To some, this may actually add more stress than it relieves, so be sure it is the right fit for you before you invite a new four-legged friend into your life.


Studies have shown that spending time petting your furry feline friend can reduce the stress-causing hormone cortisol, which is excellent for anyone with anxiety. Reducing cortisol levels lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, making you feel calmer.

Cat on a chair

The purring noises cats can make during interactions with a human have also been proven to soothe anxiety. Cats purr at a frequency of 21.98 Hz and 23.24 Hz, which can have therapeutic benefits in humans. Cats also purr when they’re happy, which can be gratifying for their anxious owners. 

Cats have a longer life expectancy than most domesticated animals, with an average lifespan of approximately 15 years. That’s plenty of time to bond with your pet and form a lasting relationship.

Cats are independent by nature, so caring for them is less strenuous than watching for a dog’s needs. They require regular feeding but don’t require you to take them outside unless you want to.


Birds are another great option for owners who are slightly more anxious than others. Parrots have even been trained as therapy animals because they can mimic the human voice. This is soothing to those suffering from certain anxiety disorders.

Birds on a perch

Parrots are also known to sense human emotion and can be trained to be equipped with soothing phrases to help calm their owner if needed.

Parrots are relatively easy to care for and can live in a large cage in your home. They need regular feeding and attention to help keep them happy, but the interaction between owner and bird can be incredibly uplifting and fulfilling.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are an excellent option for anyone looking to adopt a pet to ease their anxiety. They are ideal for homes with too little space for a dog or cat or those who don’t wish their animal has a free range of their home.

guinea pigs on a white background

The average Guinea Pig dwelling should measure about 30 inches by 36 inches (76.3cm by 91.44cm), which would be pretty easy to fit into most homes.

Guinea Pigs are friendly by nature and respond positively to attention from humans. They are often popular animals used in schools as class pets. They can even be used as therapy animals in some cases. They are low-maintenance pets who benefit from regular exercise outside of the cage. However, they are social animals by nature, so consider adopting a second guinea pig to help transition your new pet into your home.


So, as you can see, many small pets out there can help ease the anxiety of their owners.

When choosing your small pet, key factors to remember are:

  1. Choose a breed of animal with a friendly, outgoing demeanor.
  2. Choose one whose habitation needs meet those that fit your lifestyle.

If you have the time to commit to regularly exercising with your pet, a dog could be a great choice for you. If you’d prefer a more low-key animal that requires less space and attention, cats, birds, or small rodents like guinea pigs are a safe bet.

Best pets for anxiety - happy pet and owner

Regardless of your choice, having a pet will help relieve stress, create a nurturing environment in your home, and provide you with endless companionship and unconditional love. All great ways to help ease anxiety.