How pets benefit our mental and physical health.

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.

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!

pets and mental health
Image from Yaroslav Shuraev

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.

Image from Arina Krasnikova.

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. 

17 comments

  1. Haha loved this post! I have 15 cats and two dogs, most of them rescues. They make our day special every day! When we walk the dogs a large group of cats go too. And the supreme being in the household is a seven year old rescue cat called Ms Stevie Mouse – she is partially blind and absolutely rules the roost!

  2. First of all, I love the article. It’s worth reading and very informative. Plus this gives us the benefit of knowing this stuff as this will add to the development and maintenance of our well-being! Such a great shared! Thanks!

  3. Previously, we have looked into getting an assistance dog for our daughter who has cerebral palsy. The time wasn’t right then….. but we are starting to revisit the idea now…

  4. I totally agree with everything that this article has to say. There is a certain feeling of petting our dogs that gives me a sense of peace.

  5. I totally agree with everything you’ve written in todays post! I got my little dachshund three years ago and she’s completely changed my life for the better. She’s brought such light into my darkest times and she’s given me a purpose again. She’s very affectionate and really knows when I’m having a bad day with my illnesses.. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us lovely, it’s a great read Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  6. Fascinating. I love my pets so much, I’m in the fortunate position of being able to bring my pup to work, which I think brings us both joy.

  7. I will admit, my pets are great for my mental health. I have one though that also aggravates me half to death when he barks non-stop.

  8. I have a dog, and I can say for CERTAIN that pets make you more mentally and physically healthy. You can’t beat those fuzzy buddies.

  9. This was such a wonderful read and really can’t wait to add a dog to the family! I have been having dogs for most of my childhood and now a cat and you never realise how much benefit they bring you only by being around! x

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