The Power of Family Pets and Divorce

by: Lisa LaBelle, MSC, ACMHC

If animals have been a part of your family’s life, they will be especially important as you go through divorce. Your pet will be a great source of support and strength for you and your children. Pets have a special way of providing unconditional love. As you go through divorce, your pet will be a stabilizing factor letting you know that “everything will be okay.”

Here are some helpful reminders about the power of pets during divorce.

Getting your zest back for life:

Your family pet will “be there” for you as you go through divorce. You will feel unconditional love and support. It has been shown that your family pet can help prevent depression, and provide much needed companionship. Periods of crying, not sleeping, and withdrawing from friends and family may be alleviated if you have a family pet to care for. You will feel happier if you have a family pet there to love you and your children unconditionally.

Pets and your health during divorce:

The positive power of pets on your mental, emotional and physical health is real. Studies have shown that having a family pet can lower your blood pressure, lower anxiety and improve your heart rate. Those who have family pets tend to have more consistent behavior than families who do not, because of the genuine unconditional love a pet provides. Pets have a way of calming us, which helps to decrease stress levels during divorce.

Your family pet still needs to be cared for:

You and your children will need to care for your family pet. This is a good thing as you go through divorce. It will help you focus on something other than yourself and your circumstance. For example, if you or your children are feeling sad, you will still need to feed your dog and take him or her for a daily walk. This sense of stability is helpful for you and your children during this difficult time.

Children and their pets:

Your children will receive great comfort from your pet as you go through divorce. Pets help ease the difficult transition children experience. The companionship, sympathy, and unconditional love children feel from their pets will remind them that they are important, special and lovable. Your family pet will lessen the loneliness your children may feel, as well as increase their ability to have empathy for others.

The power of pets will help you make it through the rough waters of divorce. Your pet is non-judgmental, loving, welcoming, comforting and accepting of you. These qualities are lifesavers as you go through divorce. The unconditional love, and companionship your pet provides will help you and your family survive divorce. Don’t forget to add your family pet to your support system. 

Lisa LaBelle, MSC, ACMHC is the founder of Hope After Divorce and Hope After Healing. She is a published author, contributing expert, a family and child advocate and program developer, and a licensed Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She has a B.S. degree in Education and a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling, focusing on families, individuals, and children experiencing divorce, grief, or loss. Lisa is a family and child advocate, and the author of Hope After Divorce, Hope After Divorce Support Group Program, and Hope After Healing Support Group Program for Youth. She has been and continues to be a contributing expert for several publications, including,,,,, its sister publications, and She writes and develops effective curriculum and program evaluation methods for individuals, families, and children who are experiencing challenging life transitions, including divorce, grief, and loss. Lisa works to make resources, helpful information, support, community response efforts, and programs available for individuals, families, and children to support their healing. You can contact Lisa at Visit Lisa’s website, and her blog,