/7how Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health
Having a pet beside you can be one of the best feelings ever. Their serene presence is enough to make us go all mushy and cheery. Spending some quality time with your pet indeed helps you to forget all the negativity in your life and channelise your energy into something positive. Most pet owners can relate to the immediate joys they experience while having a pet but most of them are unaware that pets can greatly contribute towards dealing with mental health issues. Let’s find out how your beloved pets can improve your mental health.
Summing It Up Pets Do Help Reduce Kids Anxiety
Research proves pets do improve mental health illness. It is not selective to anxiety only. As discussed in this post, I have witnessed it many times over every time I use animals in therapy my sessions. There are many benefits to owning a pet that expand beyond mental health such as improving family interactions and the potential to be more social through puppy play dates, dog parks, social media groups, etc. I hope you have enjoyed this post and would love to hear your views, experiences, and ideas on the topic! Feel free to post below.
How Do Dogs Help With Anxiety
Anxiety is an emotion that makes people feel stressed and anxious. It can be triggered by many things. These are such as losing a loved one, getting fired from work, or not having enough money for the bills to get paid on time. Those who suffer from anxiety experience panic attacks. This makes their hearts beat faster than normal. It is because of how they react in certain situations. These situations are like when someone scares them while watching a horror movie with friends or family members. Dogs have been proved to be a great way to battle anxiety. This is because they help to overcome anxiety problems. These are the 11 ways how dogs help with anxiety:
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What Causes Anxiety In Pets
There are many types of anxiety that your pet may experience, and some are more common than others. For dogs, the most common cause of anxiety is being around strangers, while the most common cause of anxiety in cats is loud noises.
Your pet’s anxiety is personal to them and can be caused by a traumatic event, fear, or even their age.
Other common causes of anxiety in pets include:
They Support Our Overall Well Being
According to HABRI, 74% of pet owners say that owning a pet has improved their mental health. Studies show that human-animal interaction increases oxytocin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of calm, comfort and focus.
Not only that, but a study of over 600 cat owners by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation found that 87% felt owning a cat had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could better cope with life thanks to the company of their pet.
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Add An Extra Play Session Into Your Day
As a pet parent, theres nothing better than seeing your pet having the time of their life. Take a short break in between tasks and indulge in their favourite playtime activity. Whether its a game of tug, chase, or 5 minutes of fetch, we guarantee youll feel happier and calmer after the brief distraction.
Health Benefits Of Pet Ownership
In a study of the role of pets among 177 individuals with serious mental illness, it was found that pets helped by providing empathy, making social connections easier, being a “family” member, and strengthening sense of self-efficacy and empowerment.
This study shows that pets are more than just companions. If you are not so severely impaired by your social anxiety that you need a service animal, a regular petbe it a dog, cat, bird, iguana, whatever you feel comfortable withjust might give you the added support and confidence to face your social fears.
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Do Pets Help Reduce Anxiety And Depression
An alarmingly high number of people both in the U.S. and abroad suffer from anxiety and depression. While dealing with these can be dreadfully difficult, did you know pets can help? Study after study has shown that pets help improve both mental and physical health in a plethora of ways.
If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or stress, or you know someone who is, pet ownership may be a viable, helpful option for you. Well discuss the benefits of owning a furry friend below.
Reduce Your Chances Of Dying Early
Isnt it nice to know you dont have to worry about deaths related to heart diseases when you have a pet? The Minnesota Stroke Institute researched over 4000 cat owners in 10 years. The research showed those with cats are30% less likely to succumb to a heart attack. Owning a dog is also linked to a longer lifespan, according to the American Heart Association publication.
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How Dogs May Help Decrease Child Anxiety
With their wagging tails, eagerness to please and all-around lovability, dogs are known for their ability to boost adults mental and physical health. And now a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found dogs may also decrease the risk of childhood anxiety.
Researchers point to the cycle of caretaking, play, companionship and social interaction as a prime way to help prevent anxiety as well as obesity, both of which are often rooted in childhood. The incredibly strong bond children typically develop with their pets is another benefit that can help with childrens mental health.
They Offer An Excellent Distraction
With anxiety, a small feeling can escalate into something huge very quickly. The tiniest thing might not be that big of a deal to some, but anxiety turns it into the apocalypse. It becomes all you can focus on.
When you have a pet around, you have to focus on him. “When we focus attention on taking care of a pet, it help takes our mind off of our own worries,” Humphreys told The Dodo. As we all know, pets need a lot of care and attention. Your pet needs food and walks and love – all things you can focus on to distract you from your impending doom.
“Providing for the simple needs of a pet can create a feeling of mastery when everything else seems out of control or overwhelming,” Humphreys said. A pet can be a great way to remind yourself, “Right, so maybe the world is ending. But, I still need to walk the dog.”
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Pets Are Like Superheroes For People With Anxiety
Anxiety can be the worst. For people with anxiety disorders or even those who just get anxious a lot, there’s often no way around it, but there are some ways to manage it. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms that work for them , but sometimes, having a pet can help to curb anxiety.
No, pets can’t talk, and maybe they don’t know exactly what anxiety is, but animals are a lot more intuitive than people think. For a person with anxiety, a pet can do wonders.
Here are just a few small ways having a pet can be a fantastic thing for an anxious person:
Youll Develop Better Sleeping Habits
When you have a pet, you have to take care of them even when youd rather sleep. They may have to be let out in the morning, which will force you to get out of bed. If they dont have to be let outside, theyll still have to eat after a long night.
Since anxious feelings can be worsened through negative sleep habits, this can help immensely. Likewise, getting out of bed earlier will help you get more done throughout the day. This rest can also help with your anxious feelings since you wont feel like you have so much to do later.
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/7pets Improve Your Social Life
Who doesn’t want to pet a mushy, cuddly dog! Having your pet beside you gives you chances to interact socially with others. Conversing with people who have a common interest in pets act as a great icebreaker. Walking your pet is not only fun for them but also serves you a good opportunity to make friends out there.
Gaze Into Your Pets Eyes
A 2015 Japanese study found that gazing into your pets eyes increases levels of oxytocin, the love hormone, which has significant mood-boosting effects. It not only benefits you as the pet owner, but your pets levels of oxytocin also increase! Find a quiet moment while youre alone with your pet, and try it for yourself were sure youll be rewarded with a wagging tail or happy purr from your pet.
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How Pets Help Reduce Anxiety In Humans
If you are a pet owner, you know just how vital their companionship is in your life. But many people miss out on the benefits of a pets presence, especially on mental health and anxiety. People with pets are actually happier, according tomany studies. When it comes to cats or dogs, those with dogs are much happier. You may be wondering: How do pets help in reduce anxiety and improve health exactly? Well, continue reading to learn more.
Owning A Pet Is A Major Commitment
Despite all the benefits, its important to remember that a pet is not a miracle cure for mental health issues. Owning a pet is beneficial and comforting only for those who love and appreciate domestic animals and have the time and money to keep a pet happy and healthy. If youre simply not an animal person, pet ownership is not going to provide you with any health benefits or improve your life.
Even if you love animals, its important to understand everything that caring for a pet entails. Owning a pet is a major commitment that will last through the animals lifetime, perhaps 10 or 15 years in the case of dogs. And at the end of that commitment, youll face the grief and mourning that comes with losing a beloved companion.
Other drawbacks to owning a pet include:
Pets cost money. Food bills, veterinary care, licenses, grooming costs, toys, bedding, boarding fees, and other maintenance expenses can mount up. If youre unemployed or elderly, on a limited fixed income, it may be a struggle to cope with the expense of pet ownership.
Pets require time and attention. As any dog owner will tell you, theres nothing therapeutic about coming home to a dog that has been locked up in the house on his own all day. Dogs need daily exercise to stay calm and well-balanced most other pets require at least daily care and attention.
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How Pets Lower Stress
Research shows that, unless youre someone who really dislikes animals or is absolutely too busy to care for one properly, pets can provide excellent social support, stress relief, and other health benefitsperhaps more than people.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, these effects took on an even greater importance as people became more isolated from others. “I think those of us with pets were the lucky ones,” Stregowski says.
She adds that when the world changed and many found themselves with a lot more time at home, it benefited both humans and animals alike. “People had more time to provide exercise, play, and training, all of which help reinforce the human-animal bond,” she says. The added time together was good for usand good for our pets.
The following are more health benefits of pets.
Why Pets Help Mental Health
According to the National Institutes of Health , research into the beneficial relationship between pets and mental health is relatively new. In fact, studies on pets and mental health have been going on for just over a decade.
During that time, however, scientific studies have shown that interacting with pets can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, and can help with social issues like loneliness by increasing a sense of social support.
Whats more, pets can boost your mood, help you get more physical activity, and find a sense of calm though that may depend on the animal.
Youre not going to get much exercise trying to walk a fish, for instance, too, but they may offer a calming distraction when youre stressed. Likewise, an active dog may not induce a household sense of calm in the mornings, but those walks are certainly going to get you up, out and moving.
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What Is The Cleanest Pet To Own
Some of the cleanest pets to own involve hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, and dogs. While one of the biggest problems with dogs and cats is hair, some dog breeds, such as Labradoodles, shed less, keeping your home clean. However, the best way to handle hair shedding is by regularly grooming your pet.
Small pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs are very easy to look after as they are relatively clean animals.
Should You Get A Pet For Your Anxiety
Would having a companion help you better cope with and overcome your anxiety or other mental health issues? It depends.
As mentioned above, animals can provide a variety of benefits that can help people with a number of mental health issues, including anxiety. Dogs are known to show emotional sensitivity, for example, and can sense when their support is needed sometimes much better than people can.
But the wrong pet might also exacerbate mental health problems.
A dog with its own fear of social interactions who becomes anxious going outside might cause you additional anxiety about socializing and social relationships, for example. Or a pet thats not so cuddly might, in theory, amplify your sense of social isolation.
You might have the wrong pet for your needs, or your pet might not have the right personality for the job. If youre considering adopting a pet for your mental health needs or as an anxiety treatment, its wise to talk to a therapist before visiting the shelter. This is for the animals wellbeing, too. Youll want to provide a safe and loving home, after all.
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Pets Can Help Raise Your Self
In a group of studies published by the American Psychological Association, it was determined that animals help with self-esteem. These studies were conducted by psychologists at Miami University and Saint Louis University. They showed that those who have animals in their home have higher self-esteem and can bounce back from rejection easier.
When you have better self-esteem, youll feel less anxious. The study showed that when something happened, that could lower your self-esteem, animals eased that effect. This is because they give you a feeling that you arent alone, and that you are always loved.
If you write about the bad experience and then write about your pet, youll feel better about the situation. The same could be said about your thought process, too. So, if you dont have paper and a pen, think about your pet instead.
How Much Does A Service Dog Cost
Service dogs can be expensive because of the high cost of all the training that is involved.
According to Little Angels Service Dogs, many service dog organizations throughout the United States spend between $30,000 and $40,000 per trained dog.
Each dog receives an average of more than 600 hours of training, along with veterinary care, boarding, and grooming.
Some people choose to train the dog themselves, with the help of a certified trainer. This option is less expensive, but it can still involve high costs.
However, some organizations can help people find service dogs at little or no cost. This is because they meet some or all the expenses through fundraising.
Any breed of dog can become a service dog. The most important factors are the individual dogs temperament, and its ability to complete training.
Some of the breeds that work well as service dogs include:
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Interacting With Pets Lowers Our Stress Hormones
Studies around pets and mental health show that petting and playing with animals reduces stress-related hormones. And these benefits can occur after just five minutes of interacting with a pet. Therefore, pets are very helpful for anxiety sufferers.
Playing with a dog or cat raises our levels of serotonin and dopamine. These are hormones that calm and relax the nervous system. When we smile and laugh at our pets cute behavior, that helps stimulate the release of these happiness hormones.
Pets And Mental Health: Lowering Stress
Moreover, interacting with a friendly dog reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And it increases the release of oxytocinanother chemical in the body that reduces stress naturally. Thats why animal-assisted therapy is so powerful.
Furthermore, the sensory act of stroking a pet lowers blood pressure. Therefore, it reduces stress. Consequently, studies have shown that dogs can help calm hyperactive or aggressive children.
In one study, a group of stressed-out adults was told to pet a rabbit, a turtle, or a toy. Touching the toy didnt have any effects. However, stroking the rabbit or turtle relieved anxiety. In addition, even people who didnt particularly like animals experienced the benefits.
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