Pets and Mental Health
Can your pets help mental health? There is a theory that having a pet can boost your overall mental well-being. But is this true?
I always joke that my family has a small petting zoo. With three dogs, six cats and a bunny, we easily have more pets than the average household. My mother’s favorite joke is that the animals are her health insurance. She says this because of the idea that having a pet can improve a person’s overall emotional and mental health. But is this true? The answer is…
True! Studies show that having a pet can reduce tension and help to improve a person’s mood. In fact, owning an animal has been shown to help some people improve mild to moderate depression.
Pets help with mental health in a few different ways! First, they offer unconditional, simple and straightforward love compared to relationships between us humans. Getting along with family members, friends or romantic partners can be difficult at times. But with a pet, you can “just feel.” Plus, pets don’t get offended, mad or give you advice you don’t want!
Another way that pets can help with your emotional health is with their activity level. Exercising or playing with a pet not only improves your physical health, but it also releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that are a natural mood lifter. Further, having a pet also gives an owner a sense of companionship. This is true especially for those who may suffer from depression or cannot get out and about like they want. Being depressed can make you feel isolated, but your pet will always be there for you.
And finally, having a pet can encourage social interaction between you and others who also own animals. Even for people who are shy, pets give a neutral and fun thing to talk to others about.
If you are having a gloomy day, your pet will be there for you…to cuddle or to play!
Do you think that your pet affects your mood? Tell us about it in the comment section below!