Animals for Health: Pets and Your Mental Health

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Animals for Health 101

Man’s best friend?? “Animals for health” is a hot button topic these days as more and more research comes to light describing how pets can greatly improve our mental health. Find out below just how exactly how your pet is affecting your mindset! 

How does your pet affect your mental health?

Although taking care of a pet is a big responsibility, there are a number of benefits that can be reaped from having one.

Animals provide us with companionship and unconditional love, and their presence have been show to improve people’s mental health. Companion animals can be anything from the family hamster to a seeing-eye dog and have had great success in making human health better and lives more fulfilling.

Animals for Health- Pets and Your Mental HealthToday pets and animals are used in many different settings to improve human health and decrease stress. Everyone from children to the elderly can benefit, and even the pets themselves get something out of these relationships.

Take a look at some of the mental benefits that can come with owning a pet and why they are so impactful to human lives.

Soothe Stress

If you’ve had a bad day, coming home to a loving pet can make it better. Spending just a little bit of time with your dog or cat is a great stress reliever. In fact, petting an animal has been shown to reduce the stress hormone in your brain and increases oxytocin production. Chronic stress has been shown to make people more susceptible to depression and anxiety, but having a source of stress relief around can be a huge help.

Pets and companion animals have also been studied and have shown to be a help for patients with high blood pressure. A study on stress and animals showed that pet owners were able to lower blood pressure and spiked heart rates much faster than those without, and a similar study found that simply having a dog in the room or petting it lowered blood pressure and cholesterol.

Mediate Loneliness

There have been a number of studies done to show that loneliness can have an adverse effect on mental health. People who are lonely are far more likely to suffer from depression and because having a pet can provide you with constant companionship, it can help cure loneliness.

Having a dog can also provide an instant connection with coworkers, friends, and neighbors, helping you connect with others in the community. Walking a dog is great for connecting others and getting owners healthy and more active.

Caring for a pet can help children and those with social and behavioral problems connect and interact better on a whole as well. Pets are often shown to help decrease stress and anxiety, and for many with these kinds of social conditions, having a pet can keep them calm and prepared.

Give You a Sense of Purpose

Caring for a pet is an around-the-clock job. Not only do you have to feed, bathe, and walk your pet, but Saskatoon vet clinic recommends you also have regular checkups to keep them healthy. Taking care of an animal can help you feel better about yourself, and just knowing you have a dependent at home can motivate you.

Routine and structure greatly benefit people who have depression as well, and structuring your day with a pet’s needs can be the boost you need to better organize your day.

Low-maintenance pets like fish help their owners feel responsible, more social, and can improve self-confidence.

Animals for Health Pets and Your Mental Health CatGet You Active

This is one of the biggest animals for health endorsements! People with pets are typically happier than those without, and many are also healthier. Animals require regular exercise just like humans, which is why it can be a lot easier for you to stay active with a pet.

Staying active boosts endorphins and serotonin levels, which will elevate your mood. Exercising outside will also boost your vitamin D levels. In the elderly especially, those with dogs and cats were better able to perform activities of daily activity like climb stairs, bend, kneels or stoop.

These elderly are less likely to need home care help and may even have a chance to living longer than their peers. In these studies it is also useful to note that neither the length of time in pet ownership, nor the level of attachment to the animal influenced performance abilities.

Wrap-Up

A pet not only brings joy to your life, but can also improve your mental and physical health in many ways.

Having an animal at home gives you a sense of purpose, alleviates stress, and can help curb feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

Countless studies and tests have shown how people of all ages and health types benefit from caring for a dependent pet, and are able to perform better on a daily basis.

Brooke Chaplan
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