The Power of Pets for Mental Health

We say our dogs are part of the family, but are you sure you're being the best pet parent? Here are nine ways to treat your pup right and be a better dog owner.

Welcoming a pet into your life can be one of the most rewarding things you do. No matter which animal you choose, pets can enhance your home life and bring a wide variety of benefits right to your door, including benefits for your mental health.

While you’ll have the opportunity to give an animal a wonderful forever home, you’ll also reap the rewards that come with pet ownership, such as the following.

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Unconditional love

If you want someone to offer you unconditional love, a pet will never let you down. Whether you’re a dog lover, a cat person, or a reptile enthusiast, you’ll learn to spot the signs that your pet is always happy to see you.

For many people, this element of pet ownership is the most heartening. Regardless of what’s happening with your career, your romantic life, or your family situation, a pet will be your loyal companion forever.

Enhanced relaxation

Chasing after an energetic puppy or emptying a litter box may not sound like the most relaxing way to spend your time but, surprisingly, owning a pet can help you to relax. The soothing power of an aquarium is a well-known aid to relaxation, so filling a tank with tropical fish, Texas Holey Rock, and soft lights could be the ultimate way to wind down. Alternatively, there’s no doubt that curling up with your dog at the end of a long day helps you to switch off from the stresses and strains of work.

Welcoming a pet into your life can be one of the most rewarding things you do. No matter which animal you choose, pets can enhance your home life and bring a wide variety of benefits right to your door, including benefits for your mental health.

Increased exercise

When you own a pet, you’ll find yourself doing more exercise, even if you don’t realize it. Dog walking or horse riding are excellent as cardio exercises but even cleaning out a hamster cage or refilling a fish tank will give you the motivation to increase your activity levels.

Forcing yourself to exercise after a long day at work is always tricky and it’s easy to give in to the temptation of avoiding the gym and crashing out on the couch. However, when your pet’s happiness and wellbeing rely on your actions, you’ll have all the motivation you need to remain active.

Improved sociability

If you want to boost your social life, try getting a pet and see just how popular you become! Being a pet owner opens up a whole new world of social connections, so you’ll find yourself with a new circle of friends and acquaintances. If you have young children, owning a pet is also a great way to teach them about social interactions, caring about other people, and responsibility.

Less stress

Given that animals can enhance relaxation, it’s no surprise that pets can reduce stress levels too. Studies have shown that cortisol levels drop during interactions with animals, so you can feel noticeable health benefits when you spent time with your pets. Whether you’re stressed due to work or lifestyle, a pet can offer the calmness and tranquility you need.

TL;DR

With so many benefits of pet ownership, it’s easy to overlook what a positive impact you can have on an animal’s life too. By adding one or more pets to your family, you can be sure that he or she will have a happy and healthy life, surrounded by people who love them.

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