Pets are absolute companions to humans. Keeping a pet dates back centuries, and today people still keep pets out of love. Pets today are more like family and companions than anything else. The animals like cats and dogs, which were kept outside of the house, now sleep inside the homes, often on their owner’s beds. Other than being good companions, pets can also prove to be good for your mental health.
Ways in Which Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health
Pets can be your source of comfort, motivation, and companionship in several ways. They can help you enjoy a better life with better mental health.
1. Cats as Stress Relievers
Cat therapy is something that most people don’t know about. When you adopt a cat, you are actually adopting an alive stress reliever; a cat would become your therapist in ways you wouldn’t even notice. Petting a fluffy cat after a hard day results in the production of stress-relieving hormones. These hormones, as a result, cause the blood pressure and anxiety to lower down.
Like cats, dogs can also help you relax and relieve stress. They can become your best friends, and their endearing nature can actually put your stress levels low.
2. Relief from Depression
Pets, especially dogs, can be great for people who suffer from depression because they encourage and force their owners to involve in various activities. Being active can be very helpful for depressed people. Moreover, cat therapy is also a way to cope with depression. The calming effects cats and dogs provide can make a significant change in one’s life.
Having a pet means you need to spend time to take care of it, either it is a cat or a dog or even a bird. The time you spend taking care of your pet is a kind of self-care because you don’t spend your time overthinking or worrying about different things. Instead, you take care of your pet. It helps you feel needed and valued.
Having a pet dog means you need to take it out for a walk almost every day. Dog owners often meet during these walk timings, and this is how your dog helps you socialize.
You must be wondering why and how socializing can help in improving your mental health. The answer is simple: human beings are social animals, and they need to socialize in order to keep going with everyday life. Socializing helps you stay connected and to make new friends. It is a fact that people who are more social and have friends to share their life events with are more mentally healthy than the loners.
People living their later life, or the ones who live alone, mostly suffer from loneliness. A pet, however, can be a solution for this loneliness. Pets like cats and dogs love staying by the side of their owners and are undoubtedly great company to be. People tend to feel less lonely in the presence of other living beings around them. A pet may make you feel at home and act like family because that’s how they are when they love their owners.
5. Pets for Autistic Patients
Children with autism usually go through sensory issues. To solve these issues, special sensory integration activities are designed so that autistic children can get used to the way things may feel when they touch their skin. The sensory issues are not just related to the sense of touch but also to the smelling and listening senses.
Around the world, horses and dogs are usually used for the treatment of these issues. The reason is that autistic children typically find it calming to be with animals.
6. Healthy Routine
Pets such as cats and dogs have specific timings for feeding. They require their owners to feed them at that particular time. This is why pets can add a purpose to your routine, making you feel needed and creating a sense of achievement inside of you. Dogs specifically like going for regular walks, making their owners exercise a little every day.
Therefore, having a pet makes people feel responsible and busy, resulting in a better mindset and improved mental health.
Beneficial Pets Other than Cats and Dogs
It’s not just cats or dogs that can help you with mental health issues. Several other household pets can provide as much companionship as cats or dogs, such as:
A rabbit can be a great pet to keep if you don’t want to get a cat or dog as a pet. These tiny creatures are not high maintenance and don’t cost much either. However, they have enough energy to make you feel calm and stress-free with their adorable features.
Snuggling and petting a rabbit can make the same impact as a cat; they can help lower down your blood pressure and relieve stress.
You can place a pretty little fish tank in your house. Fish make an excellent pet because they stay in one place (the fish tank) and don’t need too much maintenance. However, watching fish swim can calm your nerves and reduce stress.
We all know how fun parrots are. They are the friendliest and talkative birds you would ever see. Keeping a parrot wouldn’t let you get bored, because they always learn something new from whatever you speak. Parrots encourage socializing, so if you live alone, consider getting a parrot so that your mind stays busy and sharp by teaching your parrot new words and tricks.
The process of getting help from pet animals to cope with mental illness is called animal therapy. Therapy animals are often used for people suffering from PTSD, addiction, dementia, or seizures. Usually, in hospitals and addiction centers, animal therapy is a very significant way to help patients heal faster.
Horses are the most popular therapy animals for addicts because of the trust and bonding they need from their owners. Dogs, on the other hand, are famous for people who have PTSD. And on top of every other pet, cats are the best therapists. They have the energy to lower down stress levels and provide the necessary calm feeling for people who are not mentally healthy. Animals are trained explicitly for certain patients to help them out of their mental illness or disorders.
Besides being used at hospitals or addiction centers, animals also make great companions for older adults. They provide them a purpose in life and boost their optimism and morale every day.
Animals are capable of providing more than we expect. They don’t only bring peace of mind but also health – both physical and mental. Having a pet around gives people the feeling of having someone to rely on around them. They help in diminishing the feeling of loneliness and enable their owners to cope with depression or anxiety. Pets being innocent and loveable can make anyone’s day great.
Coming home to a pet and watching them being happy to see you is maybe the most beautiful feeling one can experience. Having a pet is beneficial for both the owner and the pet; when you adopt a pet from an animal shelter, you actually provide them a home to live in.