5 wonderful pets benefit our mental and physical health!
All pet owners will tell you that their world revolves around their furbabies. It might seem strange! But when you discover that pets benefit our mental and physical health, it’s no wonder that we’re all rushing for a four-legged friend. Lockdown saw the biggest increase in pet ownership, specifically dogs and cats. With so many people working from home, animals proved a vital part of our social lives.
What’s more, is their role in monitoring our physical health. For many years pets such as dogs and cats have become accustomed to humans and our various behaviours. They’ve adapted to become our ultimate companions and dogs especially are used for a number of medical and emotional conditions. Dogs can detect seizures and diabetic complications, and can help blind or sensory impaired humans to live more independently.
Above all else, whether they’re working animals or companion animals, pets give us unconditional love without boundaries. I’ve found that both my cats are wonderful at detecting when I’m distressed or feeling a little blue. By simply curling up on my lap or sitting close by, I’m instantly relaxed and put at ease!
5 Simple ways that our pets benefit our mental and physical health.
Pets can help to reduce the effects of depression, and loneliness.
Owning pets can be a wonderful source of companionship and comfort, especially in times of need. Even something so small as a mouse or gerbil can make us feel more at ease and help us to live healthier lives. Dogs and cats in particular can be a great source of company if we live alone or if we feel isolated.
Before we adopted our cats I was often left alone in the evenings while my husband worked. Even if neither of my cats is close by, just knowing I have them in the house with me makes me feel less alone. I’m also comforted by the fact that if anything sketchy were going on in or around my home, the cats would be more than happy to alert me to it.
Finally, pets of all sizes are excellent listeners. They’ll listen to your worries and woes without negative comments. While they won’t be able to give much in the way of advice, they are able to provide a listening, non-judgemental ear whenever you might need it.
It’s been proven that petting an animal can reduce your stress levels.
Have you ever wondered why some offices allow dogs? Or why do retirement homes allow therapy animals? It’s because the simple act of petting an animal has been proven to reduce stress hormones and boost serotonin and dopamine, the happy chemicals. Farm animals have even been used in therapy for those in recovery from eating disorders, and other difficult conditions.
A study conducted by The Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 74% of pet owners reported an improvement in their mental health. Furthermore, a study by The Cats Protection of over 600 cat owners found that 87% felt that owning their feline friend had a positive impact on them mentally. 76% went on to say that they coped better thanks to their animals.
Dogs are a great way of getting us out and active.
The mental health impacts aren’t the only good thing about pet ownership. Owning a dog is a great way of ensuring additional exercise. Come rain or shine, most dogs will require a daily walk. And sometimes they even need two! This helps get their humans into the routine of going for a walk every day which not only benefits their pet but also helps get them off the couch.
They can bring structure and routine to your life.
You’ll never forget to feed your animals because they won’t let you! If you’re struggling to maintain a routine, pet ownership will quickly change this. No matter how you’re feeling, rest assured that your pets will keep you accountable for feeding time, play, and exercise.
Pets have proven to be great companions to those who are neurodivergent.
Children and adults with neurodivergent disorders such as Autism or ADHD have benefited from the responsibility and companionship of their animals. Pet therapy is commonly used to help increase social functions, reduce feelings of isolation, and improve independence. By allowing the child or adult to take charge of the animal’s basic needs such as feeding, walking, etc, they can learn responsibility and feel more independent.
But what if I’m not allowed a pet?
No need to panic just yet. There are a variety of ways you can still reap the benefits of animals without actually owning them. After all, pet ownership is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort to look after a pet. Especially bigger animals such as dogs, cats, and horses.
If you can’t own a pet yourself for whatever reason, you can also volunteer with your local animal charity. With the ending of lockdown, there has been an influx in pets needing homes. Why not alleviate the stress and volunteer to help walk dogs, clear our pens, host charity events and help out in the cattery?
There are so many things you can do to bring yourself closer to animals without the responsibility of owning one.