The Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

According to studies performed by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), our pets can actually benefit our mental health in a variety of ways.

This is why it's no surprise to us that so many shelters have been cleared during this COVID-19 pandemic, as pets can provide so much comfort.

The Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

Having a Pet Combats Feelings of Loneliness

With people practicing social distancing and staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, feelings of loneliness and isolation can creep up as we distance ourselves from others.

On the other hand, we now get to spend more time with our furry family members. Having a pet around during this quarantine has been shown to help decrease the feeling of isolation and loneliness, due to pets providing a sense of companionship.

According to a 2019 study performed by HABRI, “80% of pet owners say their pet makes them feel less lonely... Further, pet owners with the closest bond to their pet see the highest positive impact on their feelings of loneliness and social isolation.”

Having a pet in the household has also shown to help lower levels of depression as a result of our pets offering unlimited companionship and unconditional love.

In a world in which we are judged by much of what we do and say, this can be an invaluable trait to have in a companion.

Pets Help us build Social Bonds with Others

When it comes to social interactions with other people, pets are a great way to facilitate meetings.

Pets are wonderful conversation starters. Whether you’re walking your dog in the park or posting a photo of your new cat online, a cute dog or cat can help people connect over their mutual love of their pets and shared experiences of owning a pet (six feet apart these days, of course!).

These social interactions with others can help relieve social anxiety, as you are able to bond with them over a common interest.

This is especially true when you consider the many social events that are based around pets each year, such as doggie beach days, conventions, and meetups. These events centered around pets provide opportunities for fellow pet lovers to meet others, potentially make some new friends, and most importantly, have fun.

Having a Pet Helps to Alleviate Stress

Your furry loved one not only helps you build relationships with others, but having a pet around has also been shown to alleviate stress.

In a 2018 study done by The University of British Columbia, dogs were taken to college campuses for a “therapy dog session”. Students were able to interact and play with the dogs and, “The researchers found that participants reported significant reductions in stress as well as increased happiness and energy immediately following the session, compared to a control group of students who did not spend time at a therapy dog session.” There's nothing quite like the love of a dog!

Furthermore, interacting with a pet has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. So when your pet is asking for belly rubs, it benefits both of you!

The Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

Pets Motivate us to be Healthier

Taking care of a pet that is dependent on you is the perfect motivation for building healthy habits.

Need to get up earlier? Your precious pets need to be fed in the morning, so there’s always a reason to wake up, get out of bed, and start the day.

Need to exercise more? Dogs need to be walked daily, making this the prime opportunity to go out and enjoy the outdoors with your pup.

Pets provide the ultimate accountability when it comes to building healthy habits. Having to care for a pet also helps us to practice caring for ourselves and our own health.

Whenever you schedule your furry family member for their annual or bi-annual wellness exam, don’t forget to schedule a check-up for yourself. Health is wealth!

Recently added a new pet to your family? Give us a call and let us help you get your new furry best friend on the path to wellness.

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