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Pet positivity

How your pets can benefit your mental health

All of us have mental health, and taking care of it is just as important as taking care of our physical health.  Just like the weather our mental health changes and varies and this is completely normal, whatever we are feeling is OK, but the better we feel inside the better we feel outside.

There is now a growing body of evidence to support what us pet owners have known for a long time. With all the pressure that modern living conveys your pet can bring more benefits than simple love and affection, they can also positively affect our wellbeing. 

Childrens mental health benefits

Children who grow up with a pet have additional social, emotional, and educational benefits over those that do not have pets Children under the age or 6 and over the age of 10 showed the most impact from growing up with a cat or a dog. Pets were seen to offer psychological support to the child as well as helping to foster a positive self-image. All these benefits help children to become more self-confident and better understand social interactions and responsibility; all aspects that in daily life help us better cope with stress and change. 

Adults’ and senior mental health benefits

Anyone who owns a dog and will tell you that they improve your physical activity levels. Just taking the dog out every day gets you walking or running and often those walks help with isolation and communication as there are always other dog walkers out. Adult pet keepers generally have healthier biological responses to stress. They have a lower heart rate and blood pressure and can have a faster recovery when exposed to mild episodes of stress than those without pets do.  

For some older adults, loneliness can be particularly debilitating. Chronic loneliness is strongly linked to mental wellbeing. A strong bond between you and your pet has been shown to promote less social isolation bringing with it lower levels of loneliness Spending time with animals also increases your levels of “happy” hormones or endorphins in your body. Hormones such as Serotonin, Oxytocin and Dopamine promote a feeling of wellbeing and happiness and stroking and bonding with animals promotes release of these in our bodies.

Pets can be a huge comfort and often motivation and support and the benefits they can bring can help us to live a mentally happier and healthier life. 

Author: Emma Webb / Posted: September 13th 2023
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