Spending quality time with your pet helps you forget all the negativity in your life and channel your energy into something positive. Most pet owners can feel immediate joy while their pets are around, but most are unaware that pets can significantly contribute to dealing with mental health problems.
It’s scientifically proven that the pet’s presence is enough to make us feel positive and happy and helps their owner live longer. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI)
- 76% of pet owners report that their health has improved as a result of owning a pet, up 5 % from 2016, i.e., 71%
- 87% of pet owners have experienced mental health improvements from pet ownership, up 13 % from 2016, i.e., 74 %
Results strongly indicate the importance of the human-animal bond. Let’s find out how your furry friend is improving your mental health.
Physical health benefits
Every step counts when it comes to physical health benefits. Even a short walk is enough to reduce anxiety, depression, and negativity. Those daily walks or runs are fun and rewarding ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
“Dog owners walk an average of 22 more minutes per day than non-dog owners,” says Tasha Holland-Kornegay, a mental health counselor.
Your dog helps reduce your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to a study, people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.
Moreover, walking a dog increases your health and deepens the connection between you and your dog.
Petting an animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, which may shift your focus from your issues, especially if you live alone or have depression. They can make us feel loved and accepted, no matter what. They don’t care how much money you have, where you live, or what you do. This companionship, love, or bonding combat feelings of stress, loneliness, sadness, and other negative emotions. Companionship can help prevent many mental illnesses, which automatically add years to your life. Most pet owners used to talk to their pets and share their problems, feelings, or emotions. You can learn the health benefits of having a pet across the internet.
Mental health benefits
Pets can be a pillar for people living with mental health conditions. You may have noticed that your pet instantly notices and immediately takes action when you are upset or sad. Their motive is to lift your mood, making them great support and therapy animals. Animal-assisted therapy treats mental illnesses like PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression.
BMC Psychiatry examined 17 pet ownership studies among people with mental health conditions. The study points out that owning a pet has multiple mental benefits for this group — for example, dog ownership is beneficial for people living with post-traumatic stress disorder, and pet ownership improves emotional stability. Moreover, owning a pet was also associated with an increased sense of meaning and purpose.
Healthier aging process
Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets, which combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting mental stability or reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
When coupled with animal-assisted therapy, pets help old-aged patients manage pain and tackle emotional damage. Those patients also responded better to treatments.
They can help lower your blood pressure
Your heart is one of the most significant spots to see the full benefits of petting. Just the presence of a pet significantly impacts blood pressure, with pet owners having lower resting blood pressure than people without pets. Petting could help lower people’s heart rates and blood pressure. Research has found pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, while heart patients live longer if they have a pet. The American Heart Association states that having pets, especially a dog, could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are too many benefits of having a pet. From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, pets contribute to healthy communities. They make us feel better, both physically and emotionally. If you don’t have a pet, adopt and give your life new energy.