Pets & Mental Health

Posted on: 29 Jun 2023

A pet can be a great source of comfort and motivation. In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives.

Caring for a pet can help our mental health in many ways, including:

  • Increasing your physical activity as pets need regular walking or playing.
    • People who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing, and lower rates of mental illness.
  • Providing companionship.
    • Pets can give you a sense of security and someone to share the day with. Caring for them can help you feel wanted and needed. This can be especially valuable for older people or those who live alone.
  • Reducing anxiety.
    • The companionship of a pet can help to ease your anxiety.
  • Boosting self-confidence.
    • Pets can be great listeners, offer unconditional love and won’t criticise you. This can help your self-confidence, especially if you feel isolated or misunderstood.
  • Helping you meet new people.
    • Dog owners often stop and chat with each other on walks. But other pets can be a way to meet people too in pet shops, training classes or online groups.
  • Adding structure to your day.
    • Feeding, exercising, and caring for a pet can help you keep to a daily routine, which can help you feel more grounded and focused. It can give your day purpose and a sense of achievement.

Having a pet is a serious commitment.

You’ll need to have the time, money, and energy for a pet, as well as a calm home environment with routine and consistency.

Fostering a pet or helping a friend with theirs can help you see whether having your own is right for you.

If you cannot get your own pet but would like to experience all the health benefits a pet can offer you may do so through volunteerism to local shelters. 

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