Over the last few months my life has changed so much since becoming a pet parent to both a kitten and a puppy. Some people probably think we were both completely mad to take on both pets of the same age at the same time but one thing is for sure, they are certainly keeping us both on our toes and we don’t regret it one bit. I generally can not remember what life was like before my pets.
Both pup (Daisy) and kitten (Jess) have become my world, they pop up in everyday conversation. Coming home from work is rewarding when I’m greeted by both pets as the days events quickly melt away. We seem to have become more active and more sociable since getting the pets as we are meeting and talking to like minded people. I generally feel happier and more content as a person. So it got me thinking, can pets be good for both your mental and physical health?
Can having pets be good for your health both mentally and physically?
Walking a dog daily will definitely keep you active and promote a good level of fitness. Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of excersise a day so by walking your dog, you are already meeting good fitness levels without really trying.
A recent scientific study revealed that pets can indeed boost mental health. Many psychiatrists recommend a pet to their patients as part of their therapy.
How can pets improve your mental health?
The great thing about pets are they will always love you and accept you unconditionally. A pet will never hate you, they will always want to please you. Those days when everything just simply goes wrong, a pet can help boost your positivity and forget about any negativity your facing.
Studies have shown that stroking and cuddling a cat or dog will release the chemical named oxytocin in both human and pet. The chemical has a calming and soothing effect that leads to the development of a strong bond between pet and owner. Much like falling in love, the bond can be as intense as that in many human relationships, and can stimulate mental health benefits such as relief of anger, stress, tension, nervousness or even lower blood pressure. As well as making you feel happier and alive.
Pets give us a much needed distraction too, okay some of the distractions may not be to our liking. Especially if a cat knocks over your favourite vase or your dog chews through your favourite shoes. But these distractions can stop us dwelling on negative thoughts. Our minds can become more focused and alert which can stimulate our own brains. Getting a pet after losing a loved one can be a great healer as well as offering the company you need right now.
Like children, pets make us more responsible human beings. We stop being selfish and consider our pets livelihoods and welfare. From their diets, mental and physical stimulation and by trying to keep them safe. Pets can calm down our hectic lifestyles and heavy schedules. By having a pet it makes you question certain life choices, do you really need to work late at night or go to the pub after work? Or would you rather go home and spend time with your pet?
Pets are great for the whole family and can create stronger bonds within a family unit. Pets will offer children plenty of mental and physical stimulation plus help them be more responsible as they grow up alongside their pets themselves. Pets can offer mental positivity to teens suffering from anxiety or depression too. By encouraging your kids to take the dog for a walk will promote extra physical activity and stop them from always being in their rooms all day glued to their Xbox or YouTube/Netflix.
So as you can see, owning a pet is both physically and mentally rewarding. I for one will never regret owning a pet.