Do Pets Really Improve Mental Health?

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group picnic with dogPets have the incredible power to improve mental health by providing comfort, motivation and make a big difference in the feeling of companionship among other things. These things can help us live a mentally healthier life.

Pets and Depression

Pets can offer greater motivation in our lives. Especially dogs, as they get their owner motivated and the sense of responsibility to take their dog for a walk; which gets the owner out and exercising.

This can lead to greater benefits to people who suffer from depression. Pets also provide calming effects for their owner. Just by sitting next to the pet, petting the animal and playing with them can help the person relax and feel much calmer.

Having to take care of the pet also gives the owner a sense of purpose, accomplishment and a sense of achievement. This can lead to the owner feeling more valuable and needed in their day to day lives.

Pets and Socializing

Dogs can offer chances of socializing with other people, especially other dog owners when they take their dog for a walk. This gives a feeling of being less withdrawn from people and society. Having that social aspect, as well as relationships and friendships, helps the person to improve mental health.

Pets and Loneliness

Our pets often become a great companion. They offer their owners company when no one is around, as well as sharing in the owners daily routine. The effects that the pet offer are greater for those who live alone, and those who are older in age.

Pets and Older People

While you can have all the effects that a pet offers at all stages of life, those who are older tend to benefit from the effects a dog can offer more. A dog can offer a buffer between the person and the stresses of the day on a daily basis. Also interesting to note, people with Alzheimer’s have been known to show fewer outbursts due to anxiety.

Children with ADHD and Pets

Because pets need to be taken care of on a schedule, such as walking, bathing, and feeding, this helps children with ADHD learn how to be more responsible and to plan.

Person playing with dogPlaying with pets is a great way to help a person release excess energy. By walking the dog or playing with a cat a child will burn off energy that may be building up inside them. This helps to make the child more relaxed later in the day and much calmer during the night. This gives aerobic exercise and fresh air for the child and will help with the ability to concentrate better, all of which will help to improve mental health.

These are only a few of the benefits a person can experience from owning a pet, more specifically a dog or a cat. There are many other disorders where a dog or cat can become useful in calming a person down, giving a sense of accomplishment and keeping them responsible to a schedule. Even people without a mental illness can find benefits in owning and taking care of a pet.

I welcome your comments about your thoughts on pets and mental health. Leave a comment below!

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Richard Bailey

I have suffered from severe chronic depression for just over two decades. I have gone through many treatments and all medications that the Dr.'s I work with have available to them but have been treatment resistant. I hope to help people and inform people on mental health and wellness through this blog.

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