Pets’ Effect on Our Mental Health

Pets have a greater impact on our mental well-being than we think.

January 24, 2022

Going through life, there are many problems that come our way that can cause the issues of loneliness, stress, anxiety, depression, and laziness to appear in our ever-busy, ever-changing lives. Something that can assist with these common setbacks, though, is a furry friend.

Studies have shown that pets, especially dogs and cats, encourage exercise, improve cardiovascular health, and easily provide serotonin after a rough day. Caring for a pet in early childhood can also help children to grow up to be more secure and active. Playing with an active animal is easy exercise, and seeing how they interact with both people and their toys is a joy to watch. Pets also provide companionship to humans, reducing the feelings of loneliness in those that live alone or are less social.

There has always been a relationship between humans and their dogs and cats. Because of this growing relationship, these animals have grown to understand human words, gestures, and expressed emotion.

Rumors have flown by over the years about cats’ ability to sense and react to human emotion. It has been theorized that if a cat lays down on someone, they’re attempting to “heal them” or make them feel better, sensing negative feelings like sadness and anxiety. The same action has been expressed in the actions of dogs, such as their immediate rush to comfort someone they care for if they fall over or curl into a ball to make sure they’re safe. This action is more present the stronger the relationship is between the owner and their dog.

Our relationship with our pets is important because they not only assist with our mental states, but they can improve physical health issues as well. Taking a dog for a walk is an easy way to add exercise into a daily routine. People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets, and pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression. We return the favor by giving pets a home that loves them and ensures that they’re healthy. The alliance between owners and pets is often stereotyped to the simplistic “humans take care of pets; pets are cute” situation, but our companions are so much more than that.

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