How Can Pets Help Those With Mental Illnesses?

Pets are wonderful companions for anyone but have been shown to be particularly beneficial in older people as well as those with mental health issues. We have a special bond with our pets, and they can improve our lives in so many ways. Here are just a few of them.

 

They Encourage Socialising

Research has shown that walking a dog greatly increases your likelihood of having conversations with strangers, which can help owners to stay socially connected and less withdrawn. According to statistics, pet owners talk to more people, and this happens as they provide an excellent talking point. Since a large percentage of households own pets, they give us a common interest, and with their sweet and comical ways it gives us something to speak and laugh about. These days you can find dog walking groups, training and other activities online which could provide an opportunity to get out there and meet others. There are plenty of online forums too dedicated to your pet, so it’s a point of interest that you have which gives you the opportunity to connect with others.

 

They Provide Companionship

Pets give owners company, a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with. People with mental health issues or older adults living alone can feel isolated and lonely, having a pet there can definitely help with some of those feelings.

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They Give Us Purpose

One of the issues with mental health difficulties is they can cause you to lack purpose. Mental illnesses like depression can make it difficult to get out of bed, look after yourself, eat and everything else. But when you have a pet which relies on you to be looked after, it can be the boost you need to get up and motivated. We have to feed them, take them to the vets, make sure they have the right worm and flea medication- brands like Pet Lock can be useful for this since it kills both fleas and ticks. We love our pets dearly that even when we don’t love ourselves or feel worthless, we can find the strength to get up and give them what they need.

 

They Are Mood and Health Boosting

Pets have a significant impact on both our health and our mood. Dogs mainly, since they have evolved to become acutely attuned to us as humans and the way we act. Research has shown some powerful findings, for example, dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets, and people with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without who don’t. Interestingly, pet owners even have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which in turn means that heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without. People who have pets, particular dogs will get more exercise due to walking them. But cleaning out a tank, vivarium or hutch can also count towards light exercise. Generally, pets provide a buffer against stress: simply having a pet close by has been shown to reduce our reaction to anxiety-provoking events

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