Mental health and pets – five benefits of ownership

Posted by Nurse Whiskers. May 8th 2018.

Pets can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Mental health and pets are regularly linked as animals offer companionship to those who need it most. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re discussing the benefits of pet ownership.

A sense of purpose

Firstly, pets require a routine. Everyday tasks such as feeding time or walks offer those struggling with mental health a sense of purpose. Without an owner taking care of them, a pet would not be able to survive. This responsibility of care can be as rewarding as it is challenging.

Social contact

With around half of the UK’s households owning a pet, it’s likely that you and a stranger have something in common. As a nation of dog lovers, the daily walk can be a chance for an owner to chat with others. This is important for people who are lonely. Socialising is important when it comes to maintaining good mental health.

Pets are comforting

Mental health and pets go hand in hand. Just the presence of a pet can, as a result, have a calming effect. In addition, pets make loyal and loving allies. Those who are less outgoing therefore may benefit from owning a pet.

It has been proven that simply having a pet close by can combat stress and anxiety[1]. This strengthens the link between good mental health and pets.

The companionship offered by pets also combats loneliness. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can consequently trigger symptoms of depression. This can be prevented in pet ownership – loneliness can be alleviated with a four-legged companion.

The immune system

Children who grow up in homes with pets are also less likely[2] to develop common allergies. Allergies can, as a result, cause people to become lethargic and suffer from insomnia. These health issues can make people more vulnerable to mental health issues, such as depression.

They make you smile

Finally, if your pet does something cute or funny, the natural reaction is to smile. Smiling results in your serotonin and dopamine levels increasing. These are directly linked to feelings of calmness and happiness.

 

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 14th-20th May 2018. This year’s campaign focuses on stress, which can sometimes be a key trigger for many mental health issues.

You and your pet can get also involved in a number of ways to help raise awareness. Check out the Mental Health Foundation’s website to see the events happening near you, or to register your own.

 

If your pet is in need of vet care, make sure they’re covered by pet insurance. Visit www.argospetinsurance.co.uk to find out more information about our various policies.

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited which is authorised and regulated as an insurance intermediary by the Financial Conduct Authority.

[1] http://people.com/pets/new-study-university-british-columbia-therapy-dogs-reduce-stress-students/

[2] http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=116852&page=1#.UYLj7Csjo0N

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