Five mental health benefits of pet ownership. If you’re considering getting a dog, there are many benefits to this choice. In fact, 49% of pet owners believe their health improved and 74% reported feeling less stress while living with a pet. But did you know that there are also other ways in which animals can improve your mental and physical health?
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1) An animal companion helps with mental health
The link between dogs and companionship is one that anyone who has a canine will understand. Indeed, there’s nothing more important to a man than his best friend, which is why there are often references to dogs as a “man’s best friend.
“It’s no coincidence, either – animal therapy (often called animal-assisted therapy or animal-assisted therapy) has been recognized as an effective form of treatment in many places such as aged care facilities or cancer and stroke recovery wards. Unsurprisingly, it also features in mental health treatment where animals such as social support dogs for depression and anxiety are commonly used.
These creatures are specifically trained to help people with a wide range of mental health concerns from feelings of loneliness and social isolation to depression and anxiety but also alleviates feelings of stress.
Outside of group therapies or clinical settings, pets like companionships would make great friends for individuals because they tend not to hold any grudges and provide unconditional love, care, friendship and affection while providing calming presence that helps moods. Human-animal interaction has been shown time and time again to have specific clinical benefits such as the reduction in stress level (especially the declines in cortisol levels) which leads to increased levels of oxytocin in order to increase relationships within the
2) Pets can help you deal with stress
Anything related to a pet can reduce stress, anxiety and depression in general. One study revealed that having a friendly dog is believed to lower stress levels and the risk of strokes if that person is under the constant pressure of high-stress situations. Additionally, interacting with your furry friend can lead to cardiovascular benefits including lower blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease risks.
3) There are social and physical health benefits to owning a pet
Pet ownership is often seen as a means of escaping the stresses of life and it’s easy to justify putting off going to the gym. But if you have a pet, you’ll have more consistent motivation to go outside each day and walk your dog while they are happy and healthy. One study found that dog owners were more likely to be social and outgoing because of their pets. The research also suggested that pets provided owners with chances to interact with neighbours.
4) Pet ownership encourages self-care
When faced with mental or emotional health challenges, having a pet can help you take care of yourself. You’ll likely be surprised by the renewed sense of meaning and purpose that you get after adopting one. One reason for this is that a pet can make us feel needed. Their reliance on us can remind us that we need to look after ourselves in order to effectively care for them. Plus, pets who have regular schedules not only provide structure and serenity, they are more likely to stay healthy as well because they know what’s expected of them each day.
5) Talking to pets is ok (and is probably quite healthy)
It’s been said that one of the best things about talking to a pet is they can’t talk back. Indeed, your pets can provide a calm and soothing presence that could encourage you to take down walls and open up about your worries or concerns.
Talking to your pet may also provide a feeling of reassurance. There’s even some interesting research that suggests a lot of men feel more comfortable “opening up” to their dogs than they do people and particularly nervous about copping unsolicited feedback from women.
After all, dogs never cast judgement or make you feel like you’re at risk of disgusting them when you open up about personal stuff. The fact that the vocal tone used by adults speaking to babies is remarkably similar to the one used when speaking to someone we love (human or animal) suggests that we may feel more at ease around our animals.
Pets and health
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that people can derive enjoyment, fulfilment and even health benefits from pets. It’s important to emphasize the remarkable impact pets have on our lives.