If while dealing with a bout of stress, anxiety, or depression you’ve ever thought getting a furry friend would help manage negative thoughts and feelings, there’s a lot of truth to that. According to a wide body of research on happiness and stress, getting a pet—particularly a dog—is an excellent way to boost happiness. A recent study conducted out of the University of British Columbia found that dogs are particularly beneficial for stressed-out college students. After spending time with therapy dogs, the students were significantly less stressed out, had more energy, and were happier overall.

With remarkable results on the link between pets and happiness coming up in study after study, it’s easy to think that getting a dog will not only help heal mental health issues but can be an extra happiness boost for those of us who are already doing pretty well in the happiness department. But when it comes to dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression, how helpful are pets really? Here’s what the experts have to say.