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Pets and Mental Health


Most pet owners have always known about the benefits of companion animals, but many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can be gained just by the pleasure of snuggling up to a furry friend. These companions have evolved to become attuned to human’s behavior and emotions. Dogs, for example, can understand many of the words that we use and can often interpret our voices, body language, and gestures. A loyal dog will look into your eyes so as to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling. Pets add real joy and unconditional love in our lives.

 Pets and human health

Pets play a very significant role in improving human health. Studies show that:

  • People who keep pets are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are hormones that calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
  • Patients with heart attack and own pets survive longer than those without.
  • Pet owners over age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

 Get a pet, lose weight

If one wants to lose weight, they must work on it. Working on it means finding powerful ways like exercise in which one could adopt in order to achieve the weight loss. Taking your dog for a walk, a run or a hike can be a rewarding way to exercise. Dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements—and exercising every day is great for the animal as well. It deepens the connection between the owner and the dog and eradicates most behavior problems in dogs. It is also known to keep your pet fit and healthy.

 Pets and companionship

Pets   give us company, a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with. Pets can be valuable company for both kids and elderly people.  For instance, as you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale, optimism, and sense of self-worth.

If you are experiencing typical stresses, you can be sure to be comforted by a pet. Studies show that a dog can be a good stress buffer and can make you feel relaxed. Unlike human beings, pets do not wrong us, and it can be extremely easy to co – exist with them. They help soften the effects on adverse events on a person and this makes you feel calm and relaxed. People with pets are thought to have the best relationships with people because if one can relate well with a creature that cannot speak, they can reciprocate the same to human beings.

Moreover, interacting with a friendly dog reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And it increases the release of oxytocin—another chemical in the body that reduces stress naturally. That’s why animal-assisted therapy is so powerful.

 Pets and children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical disorder in children that affects attention, ability to sit still and self-control. Children with ADHD can benefit by working and keeping a pet. They can take charge of jobs like feeding them, walking them and bathing them. This can be a great way of keeping them occupied and responsible.

In the course of exercising natural behavior, pets play a lot. Playing with a pet is a great way to release excess energy for children. Your child can burn off energy walking a dog or running around with a kitten, making them more relaxed later in the day and calmer at night. Also, fresh air and good circulation from aerobic exercise increases oxygen-filled blood flow to a child’s brain, therefore increasing their ability to concentrate.

Children with ADHD are used to their parents trying to calm them down or reprimanding them. A pet is a great listener and as a result of this, it offers unconditional love and will not criticize a child for having too much energy. This can aid a child’s self-confidence.

 Pets and children with Autism

Children with autism usually have a problem with their sensory organs. Pets can reduce the stereotyped behaviors that are associated with autism. They can also increase the behavior to connect socially with others, making them not feel secluded. This can also help in boosting their confidence and working on their self-esteem when relating with their peers who do not have this disorder.

Animals like dogs, cats and horses have been used before for this purpose of assisting children with autism. By playing with pets, they feel loved and develop a sense of belonging in the society. Families with autistic children should endeavor to keep pets.

Pets and reducing anxiety

Pets can be a great remedy of anxiety reduction. The companionship of an animal can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. This is because pets live in the moment—they don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow—they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present. If humans adopted animals’ way of life, they will not have to worry about things their past, things that are happening around them or things that are bound to happen.

In conclusion, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly, usually find joy in owing and keeping a pet. It is true that the bonds between animals and pets are powerful and the correlation between pets and mental health is undeniable.


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