It doesn’t matter if you’re a child, single adult, a family, or an elderly individual; owning a pet can positively affect your mental health in numerous ways. By owning fish, birds, rabbits, cats, or dogs, your mental health becomes affected by caring for them. Here are 10 ways that your pet positively affects your mental health.
A bond created with a pet has a way of making you feel important. People that are prone to depression often disconnect from the outside world. Being bonded to a pet can help them feel less lonely. The bond is created by your pet’s dependency on you to meet their needs. This gives people the feeling of being needed and they understand the important role they play in their pet’s life.
Some pets require outdoor exercise. Your brain releases “feel good” chemicals when you exercise. Walking or playing with your pet outdoors promotes this chemical release and leaves you with an all-over good feeling. Your also pet appreciates the exercise and a break from the normal routine! Their brain also releases the same type of chemicals when they exercise. When your pet is happy, it generally leads to you feeling the same way.
When you get a pet that is young, you will have to nurture it into its adulthood and beyond. By giving your pet food and attention, you’re inadvertently sharing love and compassion. This positively affects your mental health. When you can give your time and love to a pet, you will often find that your mind isn’t as overwhelmed with life’s issues.
All pets require play time (except maybe fish). Your pet can positively affect your mental health by allowing you to let go of stress and worry and just play. Watching your pet’s antics will make you laugh and relax after a hard day out in the human world. Owning a pet and participating in frequent play time can bring lots of joy into your life.
Single people and the elderly who own pets typically find their furry friends to be great companions. Busy lives and old age can make people feel isolated. Owning a pet positively affects their mental health by making them feel less lonely. Knowing there is a pet at home waiting for them gives them a good reason to want to return home to their pet’s happy greetings.
Kids and the elderly who are responsible for pet care may find a more purposeful meaning to their lives. Kids will learn responsibility, and the elderly or the empty nesters will once again have something to care for. Caring for animals positively affects mental health in those who have lost some hopefulness in life. Feeling purposeful can come from simply feeding a fish daily and cleaning its tank once a week. You understand that without your help, a pet can suffer or die.
Pets give us unconditional love, and this can positively affect your mental health. They are non-judgmental and generally happy to be around their people. Animals are loyal and will listen to our problems without issue. Animals can make you feel safe, secure, and loved without you having to meet much expectations from them.
The Here and Now
Owning a pet can positively affect your mental health by keeping you in the present moment. Pets have a way of distracting you from your problems, and they give you a reason to smile. This helps keep your mind off of life stresses and keeps your mind on what is necessary now. Sometimes all that is necessary is playtime followed by some cuddles.
Kids and Pets
Children not only learn responsibility from pet ownership, but they can also benefit from positive affects to their mental health. For instance, children with ADD or ADHD often have excess energy that is hard to manage. Running and playing with a pet can provide a natural outlet for the excessive energy that your child deals with. This can help bring some calmness into the home at times when things are usually out of control.
Numerous studies show that therapy animals help to positively affect your mental health. Therapy animals are often specially trained to provide a specific duty. For example, a seeing eye dog allows a blind person to venture outdoors more frequently. Without the guide of a therapy animal, they may feel isolated or alone in their world. They also might feel like they are too dependent on other people because there are things that they can’t do alone. Their guide dog can help them move forward in this difficult time and gain some independence and confidence. The pet also provides companionship, love, and loyalty.
There are more than 10 ways that pets can positively affect your mental health. We hope you enjoyed this basic breakdown of some ways that human mental health can be positively affected by owning a pet. Can you think of other ways that pets positively affect mental health? You can comment below and let us know how your pet has helped you get through life.
Matt Barnett is the creator of dogdogo.org, a small blog that’s focused on dog health, wellness, and training.