Pets and what they mean for your mental health
Pets are also a great motivator for humans. Dogs are especially good at encouraging owners to get exercise, and this can be beneficial for people suffering from depression. Pets can also have a calming effect on their owners. Just by petting, sitting next to a pet, or playing with it, owning a pet can give them a chance to relax and calm their minds. Grooming a pet also provides your daily purpose and reward, and a sense of achievement. It also helps you feel valuable and needed.
Walking a dog often leads to conversations with other dog owners and this helps owners stay socially connected and less withdrawn. People with more social relationships and friendships are generally more mentally healthy.
A pet makes a great companion. They give owners company, a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with. Pets can be especially valuable companions for people later in life who live alone.
4. In later life
People in later life who experience typical life stress can be comforted by a companion animal. It’s believed that a dog can be a stress buffer that mitigates the effects of adverse events on a person. With an animal in the house, people with Alzheimer’s disease would have fewer anxious outbreaks.
5. Children with ADHD
Children with ADHD can benefit from working with and keeping a pet. Taking charge of the tasks on a pet care schedule, such as eating, walking, and bathing, helps a child learn to plan and be responsible. Pets need to play, and playing with a pet is a great way to get rid of excess energy. Your child can burn off energy by walking a dog or running around with a kitten, making them more relaxed later in the day and calmer at night. Fresh air and good circulation through aerobic exercise increases oxygen-filled blood flow to a child’s brain, increasing their ability to concentrate. A pet is a good listener, offers unconditional love and won’t criticise a child for having too much energy. This can improve a child’s self-confidence.
Sensory problems are common in children with autism. Sensory integration activities are designed to help them get used to the way something feels, smells or sounds against their skin. Both dogs and horses have been used for this purpose. Children with autism often find it soothing to work with animals. It’s claimed that in the case of people with autism, animals can reduce stereotyped behaviors, decrease sensory sensitivity, and increase the desire and ability to socialise with others.