Can a pet improve your mental health? Absolutely!
Pets help reduce stress
There’s a scientific reason that dogs, cats and other animals can be used as therapeutic aids.
Studies have shown that interacting with a therapy animal can cause the body to release the “feel good” hormone oxytocin. It can also cause the body to lower the “stress” hormone cortisol.
This has shown to have positive effects on people with anxiety and those with high blood pressure.
Pets can ease depression
Evidence shows that interacting with a pet can greatly ease feelings of depression.
The bond we form with our pets gives us a feeling of purpose. Our pets rely on us to assist with their daily needs and they encourage us to form healthy routines. Pets can increase our level of activity and improve our sense of well being.
Pets can soothe our feelings of loneliness. Nursing homes have had great success with including animals in their patients care. Having a facility pet or hosting regular visits from a therapy animal has proven to abate feelings of isolation in nursing home residents.
Pets can increase our confidence and social function
Our pets love us unconditionally. They don’t pass judgement on us. They accept us for who we are and that acceptance helps improve our self esteem.
Pets help promote social interaction. Whether it’s engaging with people while walking your dog or finding camaraderie in an online pet forum, pets can be a gateway to finding support and friendship with others.
Children have also shown to greatly benefit from interacting with a pet. Some studies have shown that reading to a pet can help children develop their literacy skills. Pets also help children establish a sense of responsibility and autonomy when the children are involved with the pet’s care.
Is owning a pet right for you?
Owning a pet is a great responsibility. Although there are clear benefits to pet ownership, it’s best to consider your circumstances before making what should be a lifetime commitment.
Although most people tend to think of a dog or cat when they consider bringing a pet into their home, there are plenty of other options that may be suitable instead.
Birds, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, turtles, fish all make great pets and may be a better fit for your lifestyle.
Talk To Me
Do you own a pet or are you considering adopting one? Tell me about your critter family in the comments!