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Pets can help you get better

Pets can be great companions to help bolster our wellbeing and overall functioning. In many ways, it isn’t a difficult idea to understand because most households have at least one pet and, most people at some stage in their lives have owned a pet.

Everyone can benefit from a pet.  Here is how:

  1. Pets such as dogs have a relatively high emotional intelligence and are pretty good at picking up mood and environmental cues.  Are the blinds closed and are you hiding under a blanket? Or is the sun beaming through the window and you’re dancing around the kitchen? Either way, your pet will understand the difference.  Which means, if you’re laid up on the couch feeling a bit under the weather, they will tend to not bother you too much or sit at your feet. They pick their moments. It’s always a nice positive feeling when someone understands you. They can provide some well needed comfort and companionship. 
  • If you live alone or don’t have many opportunities to see family and friends due to a hectic work schedule, pets can provide timely and needed interaction.  Petting a dog or a cat can be very good for you. Petting a dog for example, helps the body release endorphins which can improve mood.  So, take the time to pet your dog or cat because you will feel good and so will they.
  • Pets make you accountable for something.  If you’re a) down and out and having a mental health day, at a minimum, you will need to feed your pet and b) let it outside for a wonder around the yard for some fresh air.  And there you have it, you have achieved something for the day, you have cared for another living creature and completed your responsibilities. It may even inspire you to go for a walk.  Having responsibility for something and caring for something can create a positive sense of purpose.
  • If you are recovering from an injury, having a pet may encourage you to walk a little more, bend a little more, move a little more and with guidance, may help you to recover sooner.   Walking your dog for half an hour a day can have wonderful impacts.   It may be just the excuse you need to get down to the beach.
  • Social interaction. Dogs are like babies. People stop you all the time to make a fuss. And while they’re petting the dog, the chances are they’ll ask you a few questions too. What’s the dog’s name? What breed of dog is this? How long have you had this dog?  Before you know it, you are deep in conversation about the pros and cons of breeds, telling funny anecdotes about the time Buster went missing.  Dogs can be great for social interaction. If you live alone and have the time and space for a dog, consider the benefits here.
  • Overall Health.  Research has shown that pet owners are better off in relation to their physical and mental health.  According to the Delta Dogs website, pet owners visit the doctors less, have better cholesterol and blood pressure, recover sooner from injury or operations and deal better with stressful situations.

Should I get a pet? The short answer is yes. There are many types of pets, to suit all situations and households. If you have the time and commitment necessary to love and care for a pet, there are many good reasons to own one and make it a part of your family. 

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