5 Reasons Pets Are Great If You Have Fibromyalgia

Pets can be of great comfort for people suffering from chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia. There’s a reason why dogs are considered “man’s best friend”: their tremendous loyalty. But your pet doesn’t have to be a dog, your new best friend could easily be a cat, a guinea pig or even a parrot.

There are many reasons why pets are good for both physical and mental well-being, and we’ve listed five of them with help from healthline.com and Fighterzine.

The number one reason for having a pet is for companionship. OK, so unless you have a particularly talkative parrot or budgerigar the conversation may only be one way, but having a pet in your life will help fend off loneliness and boredom. Cats and dogs often seem to have a sixth sense when their owners are unwell and will sit quietly by their side keeping them company.

Reduces Stress 
Petting cats and dogs has been documented to help reduce stress and boost mood. If it’s not practical to keep a dog or cat in your home, take the time to visit friends or relatives who have pets. You can also volunteer at a local shelter for a few hours so you can give some love to homeless cats and dogs. Staring at pretty aquarium fish or even watching pet birds can have an equally calming effect, helping you unwind.

MORE: Read our columnist Robin Dix’s take on having a pet when you have fibromyalgia. 

Provides a Distraction
We know looking after a pet is a big undertaking, but it also acts as a great distraction. No matter what your day’s been like or how you feel, you’ll still need to feed your pet, look after its home and get it outside. Not only will this serve as a distraction to your fibromyalgia but will also give you a sense of purpose and something to focus on.

Forces You to Exercise
If you choose a dog, then you’ll need to take the dog for a walk, which means going outside at least twice a day. The exercise and fresh air will be great for your physical health and mental well-being. If the weather’s nice, there will be the added bonus of soaking up some vitamin D.

Gets You in a Routine
Having a pet to look after means that you need to get into a routine. The type of pet you get will depend on your living arrangements and how severe your fibromyalgia is, but there really is a pet for everyone. Whether you opt for a lizard or a kitten, a goldfish or a rabbit, it will demand your attention and will be totally reliant on you.

MORE: One vlogger discusses three symptoms of fibromyalgia nobody talks about. 

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. Gail Wilson Webb says:

    My big boy kitty, Simba, always knows when things are going sideways for me. He will stay with me until I feel better. He has become a very reliable indicator of how my fibromyalgia is. I love him even more for his talent in this area. I have other kitties and caring for them gets me up everyday and motivates me to stay up.

  2. MM says:

    Some days I only get up to make sure my pets are taken care of, currently have 4 indoor rabbits & 1 cat. rabbits are amazingly charming and intelligent when not locked in tiny wire cages.

  3. Lesley says:

    I’ve suffered with fibromyalgia, quite severely now for over five years. My recent purchase of Bella, my beloved Jack Russel has made a huge difference to my life. She motivates me to get up out of my bed, to feed her and the most important changes for me and my ongoing pain, is to take her out for walks, this gives me so much pleasure and happiness to see her running around, fetching her squeaky pig when I throw it and then hiding it in our garden for her to find the following day. I have managed to lose weight with our 3 X a day walks that have gradually got further and made me more determined to exercise and reduce my weight that has helped my pain no end. A pet dog has been my lifeline and has helped me so much. You have to get a dog who loves you, is loyal and trusts you to care for her, giving you the opportunity to not think of your pain and discomfort all of the day and night!

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      That is very inspiring, Lesley. It’s good that you have found happiness in her. I’m pretty sure she loves you just as much, if not more. 🙂

  4. Jill says:

    When I found out last year that I have fibromyalgia I decided it was time to get a puppy. I knew I wouldn’t get the exercise I need without one. I not only did I get a puppy but we got her Mom too. I am still working full time and did not want to leave the puppy home alone all day. It has been a real life changer with two dogs and our cat. They all get along great and we are blessed with a walking neighborhood and a nice back yard.

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