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Did you know that having a pet can help you stay healthy, feel better about yourself, and even help with depression and other mental disabilities? It’s true!
There are many ways animals provide support for their human guardians. For example:
This one is fairly obvious- when you have a pet, particularly a dog or another animal that appreciates moving around, you’re more likely to move around yourself. Taking walks, throwing balls or Frisbee, or just chasing a sudsy dog around the yard when he should be taking a bath- all of these get you moving, and we all know there are huge mental and physical benefits to exercise.
One of the great human needs is to be connected to others. When you’re experiencing anything that distances you from others- mental illness, physical disability, difficulty going outside, and so forth- having a pet that will be with you, provide you with loving companionship, sit on your lap, and fill your needs for affectionate touch, you will be more grounded, more stable, and happier.
When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to get yourself motivated. But when you have a little (or big) animal depending on you to take care of it, you’ll find that you have an easier time getting up so you can feed it, for example. And the physical feeling of responsibility, and seeing your pet thrive under your care, gives you a huge self-esteem boost.
All of the above provide stress relief, of course. Petting your dog or cat lowers your heart rate, for example. But there are other stress relief benefits from pets, and other pets that help you relax. Watching a fish swim is a great way to relieve tension. Or a hamster spin endless circles with its exercise wheel.
Having a pet isn’t a cure-all, and it might not work for everyone, but give it some thought. If you think a pet might help you, check out some of our pet-friendly partners: SPCA, AnimaLovers, and A.F.E.W. Or support them by donating a car to help others feel the benefits of pet ownership.
Image source: ArcaNatura