Pets and their impact on mental health

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You might be the one caring for your pet but they support and care for you in unspoken ways. Whether it’s a dog wagging their tail and greeting you at the door, a cat or bunny snuggled in your lap or a bird singing to you, pets provide companionship and unconditional affection. The bond you share with your lovely and cuddling pet can do a lot to support your mental health.

These are just some of the easy ways pets can positively impact your mental health and wellbeing:

Pets don’t judge

You don’t need to explain to them why you haven’t left the house in a couple of days or why you haven’t brushed your hair. You don’t need to impress them with witty one-liners or solve problems for them. Pets love you without any desires or judgement and they’re happy to be in your company.

Pets keep you company

When you’re not feeling great about yourself or you’re not up to interacting with people, pets are there for you. They’re great to talk to (perhaps because they can’t talk back) and they pick up when you’re not feeling 100 per cent. They often have a calming influence. And let’s be honest, they’re the only housemates you can’t stay mad at when they make a mess.

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Pets can encourage you to be more active

Ok, so you can’t walk a pet such as fish, but pets like dogs, cats and rabbits often enjoy spending time outdoors. Head outside; join your pets in their playtime and enjoy the fresh air together.

Walking the dog is one of those activities people often think of as a chore, but moderate excercise is just as helpful for your well being as it is for your pet’s. It also gives you and your dog the opportunity to socialise. Mingling with other dog owners can be a great way to manage social anxiety because you can ease into a conversation by talking about your dogs.

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Taking care of a pet can remind you to take better care of yourself

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you will have been on the receiving end of the wide-eyed stare that says “it’s dinner time, human. Please feed me”. Pets love routines and routines are good for people too. Pets encourage and motivates you to wake, eat, play, exercise and sleep at regular times. Routines give your days an objective or purpose and structure which are supportive factors to manage conditions depression and anxiety.

 

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