The Mental Health Benefits of Traveling with Your Pet


Ashley Hotovec | May 10th, 2023

When you start your travel career, finding yourself in a new, unfamiliar environment and always being the new guy can be exciting but also bring about feelings of loneliness. You may become homesick and miss the comfort your friends and family bring you. However, you don’t have to feel this way! Bringing your pet on assignment with you is one way you can improve your mental health and fight these feelings of loneliness. Whether it’s your dog, cat, bird, you name it – pets can offer companionship and support that travelers often lack while on assignment and can make travel nursing a more enjoyable experience. You don’t have to do it alone!

With May being Mental Health Awareness month, we want to shed light on 5 different ways traveling with your pet can improve your mental health:

  1. Pets can suppress any feelings of loneliness or homesickness.

There’s no better feeling than your fur babies greeting you at the door after a long day at work! Although not another human, your four-legged companion has unconditional love for you and always wants to be by your side. They are always down for snuggles — snuggling can release oxytocin, a hormone which is linked to positive emotional states and known to lower stress and anxiety. When you live alone, coming home to your pet can give you peace of mind that you are not alone and will help you feel more “at home” when on assignment.


  1. Pets encourage you to get outside and get some fresh air.


When struggling with our mental health, we all know how hard it can be to change out of our pajamas and get outside. Primarily applying to healthcare workers with dogs, your dog will be the motivation you need to get out to take him or her for walks. You’ll get some much-needed vitamin D, which is proven to decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. Beyond the sunshine, fresh air and exercise will leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the day.


  1. Pets offer a great listening ear.


Need to vent? Look no further! Working in healthcare, it’s common to have days where you come home stressed out and upset. Your pet is the greatest listening ear – They listen, provide comfort, and don’t offer uncalled-for advice! Bottling things up inside isn’t ideal for our mental health and having a furry friend to rant to is just what you need after a hard day.


  1. Pets are great for starting conversations with people. (New friends!)


More often than not, someone is going to greet you when walking your dog. “Your dog is so cute! Can I pet him or her?” Use this as an opportunity to connect with the people in your new community. Making friends is hard, but it doesn’t have to be! Have a Sunday Funday at the nearest dog park, this is a great way to make new friends for not only the sake of your mental health, but your pup’s as well! More of a cat person? Depending on where your assignment is, cat cafes are becoming a big hit! Grab a coffee, get endless kitty cuddles, meet people with similar interests, and maybe adopt a new bestie. What could be better?


  1. Pets make you feel secure.


We all know how hard it can be to fall asleep the first night sleeping somewhere new. Or the second night, or the third. We flinch at every sound we hear, predict worse case scenarios, and feel the effects of insomnia the next day. Sleep is imperative for your mental health and your pet can offer that extra blanket of security at night. Bring your fur baby on assignment with you to give you peace of mind at night knowing they are always going to protect you.


Now that you’ve heard how your furry companion can boost your mental health while on assignment, what’s stopping you? Traveling with your pets can be so rewarding – a shoulder to lean on after your hard days, a listening ear when you need to vent, and always available to snuggle. Take your best bud with you on your next assignment – they’ll turn all your bad days into good ones!



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