How A Pet Can Help Your Mental Health

According to recent surveys, anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health illnesses in the United States, therefore discovering strategies to treat such disorders is becoming increasingly vital, not just in our country, but around the world. While some people may need to use medication to cure their condition, others are turning to more natural alternatives, such as exercise and a balanced diet, or other complementary therapies, such as distance healing, to reduce their symptoms. Of course, each of these treatments has advantages, but there are several ways to manage anxiety and depression that are appropriate for people of all ages.

Talk to any pet owner, and they will tell you how much they love their pet and how they couldn’t live without their dog, cat, hamster, horse, or even pet snake. Human-animal bonds are extremely positive, and according to 2015 research, 95 percent of pet owners regard their animals to be members of the family. They take them on holiday, allow them to sleep on beds, and when they do pass away, buy beautiful cremation urns for pets so that they can remain a part of the family long after they have gone.

People may think of pets as animals to play with and stroke, but believe it or not, animals have a plethora of benefits that can assist enhance mental health. After all, who doesn’t enjoy snuggling with a cat or a dog?


Owning a pet can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and sadness, for the most part, coexist. Depression is more than just being unhappy; when you’re depressed, you’re sad all the time, and this misery can have a big impact on your entire life. Furthermore, anxiety might leave you feeling unsettled, with a sensation of intense fear and worry, which can limit your social life and job chances. 

These mental health problems can affect people of any age. Non-pet owners, on the other hand, are thought to be four times more likely than pet owners to be diagnosed with clinical depression. The reasons for this could be because pets can provide you with a sense of importance, unconditional love, and can have a soothing and calming effect — all of which can help to reduce symptoms of depression. 

Furthermore, your relationship with your animals is less likely to have the ups and downs that you have with humans, making it much more constant and less prone to create stress and sorrow.

Owning a pet can boost your social skills

Children with conditions such as autism or ADHD frequently struggle to communicate. However, new research has shown that keeping a pet can assist youngsters on the autism spectrum, improve social skills and reduce the anxieties and frustrations that are typical among people with ASD. 

Researchers have linked caring for an animal to improved social skills, so parents of autistic children may want to consider getting their child a tiny pet. While your children may want for a puppy if you are unable to care for such a large animal that requires a lot of dedication, consider a rabbit or guinea pig.

Owning a pet can be calming

Petting an animal causes the production of oxytocin (a hormone associated with happiness and tranquility). This can assist someone who is really worried and anxious in relaxing and experiencing sensations of joy. Because of these soothing benefits, there has been an increase in animal-assisted therapy (AAT), such as puppy and kitten therapy sessions, in which clients are permitted to sit with animals and pet them for a short period of time. According to research, all people who had animal therapy got less stressed – even those who claimed they were not particularly fond of animals!

They encourage people to get active

This obviously does not apply to hamsters and rabbits and so forth, but dogs need to be walked. When you are experiencing a mental health crisis, it can be easy to curl up and isolate oneself from the outside world. Owning a dog, and especially having a close attachment with one, encourages the owner to take it for regular walks. This alleviates symptoms of social isolation while also getting the person outside, in the fresh air, and exposed to sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a true condition in which a lack of sunlight causes depression and low spirits. The obligation of taking a pet for regular, daily walks can be a start toward preventing that.

Pets live in the moment

They are unconcerned with what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow, next week, or next month. They live in the present moment, making the most of what is happening to them. Many people who suffer from anxiety or depression do the exact opposite. People who own a pet can become more mindful. Mindfulness is a mental practice that encourages people to make the most of their lives.

Can alleviate loneliness

Living alone can be a major source of stress and anxiety. Long nights alone or walking into an empty house day in day out may be too much for many people. Having a live thing that is reliant on you and delighted to see you walk through the door can make all the difference in the world. In addition, as previously stated, it can aid with social isolation. Taking a dog for a walk immediately attracts people for discussion, and even a few minutes of speaking with another adult can raise some people’s spirits.

Requires some sort of routine

A lack of routine can be both a cause and a symptom of poor mental health. A pet gives people a cause to get out of bed in the morning, a purpose to leave the house, and a reason to go shopping. When you have someone or something that depends on you for survival, staying fit and healthy becomes much more vital, and studies suggest that pet owners are healthier and more motivated to exercise.