Pets & Mental Health

In recent years there has been an effort, care, and research going into ways to improve our mental health. Learning techniques that you can take care of yourself, nurture yourself and help those around you that might need support too. Pets have long been hailed as a way to lower stress levels, and get people more active – so surely it makes sense that they will have an impact on mental health too? Cats and dogs are the most common family pet. They like to be stroked, walked and are great listeners. Many people have photos, and dog pop art is a great way to celebrate your relationship with your pet!

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Love

We feel a deep sense of love for this family member. We feel like they know what we are saying, and we understand how they are feeling too. The bond is deep and hard to break. The internet is awash with people who actively seek cut cat videos or dog photos when they need to be cheered up – and thousands send responses of pictures of their beloved pets. There is a saying that you can judge a man by how they treat someone who can do nothing for them. Technically, pets only bring their personality to the table, and you have to do the rest – and we do it gladly. They are a source of endless, deep love.

Judgement Free

Imagine being able to share the worst thing you’ve ever done, thought or seen – and instead of wondering about the person’s response, you’re going to be snuggled and loved anyway. This is an excellent way for kids to be able to talk about their feelings or what they are going through without feeling like they will be told off too.

Happy Hormones

You can hug a human that you love for at least 2 minutes, and your ‘feel-good’ hormones will start to kick in. Within 15 minutes of petting a dog, you can have the same. And those 15 minutes go by in the blink of an eye.

“levels of serotonin, a hormone in humans that helps fight depression, rise dramatically after interaction with live animals, specifically dogs.” (University of Missouri-Columbia study).

Those happy hormones help combat stress levels, and over time, you will notice a difference in yourself.

Therapy

There are, perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of people suffering from mental health conditions. From anxiety, BPD and depression a more. It is estimated that 1 in 5 adults suffer from some type of mental health issue. And that is no small number. Many studies have found that people who own pets have lower rates of depression, feelings of loneliness and anxiety. That is not to say buying a dog, or a cat is a cure, but getting a lifelong friend that needs you might just be ideal.

You can, in many cases, register your pet as an emotional support animal. You’ll need a letter from a registered medical professional, it helps protect you and your pet. It is important to note that you shouldn’t ask people to treat your pet as an ESA if they’re aren’t though.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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