Four reasons why having a pet improves your mental and physical health

Learn why you are never too young or too old to benefit from having a furry companion.  

If you are feeling lonely, depressed, overwhelmed or anxious, you might just need a good dose of unconditional pet love in your life. Bob Martin shares four reasons why having a happy pet can make for a happier and healthier life 

  1. Give them cuddles:
    Be it your purring cat or the wagging tail of your pup – petting or cuddling your furries has been shown to reduce anxiety and boost your mood. Petting an animal can decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boost the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate, and what follows is very possibly an elevated mood. Therapy animals also make wonderful companions for people with disabilities and mental health conditions such as depression and dementia. 
  2. The ‘Lassie Effect’:
    The weather isn’t great, and you’ve had a long day, but your loyal pooch is pawing you because it’s time for walkies. Instead of spending the afternoon on the couch, you get up, grab his leash and go for a quick walk. That’s the ‘Lassie Effect,’ – the positive lifestyle a dog encourages you to have. The regular exercise is a win-win, it keeps your hound fit and happy, but at the same time it improves your health and wellbeing too. Physical exercise improves brain health and helps manage stress and anxiety. Even just playing at home with your dog can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pets also help manage loneliness and depression by giving us their unconditional love.
  3. Take them to work:
    Whether you are working from home or in an office – pets can make your work day more bearable and give you bursts of happiness, simply by being their cute selves. Not only does having a pet around force you to take a much-needed break from your desk, they also help to keep your stress levels lower throughout the day. 
  4. A best friend for all ages:
    Growing up with pets teaches children responsibility, but also compassion and tenderness. They will always have a friend by their side, and one that will get them outdoors and active. Pets can even help with learning, and educators have used dogs as a form of therapy in schools for years. In particular, animals can help children’s reading skills as they’re a non-judgemental and loyal friend to read out loud to.

Furries also provide calm and companionship for the elderly and can prevent them from feeling lonely and depressed. 

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