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How owning a pet can significantly improve our mental health

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, we want to discuss how pets can all improve our daily mental health.

It has been revealed that pets can help us with a lot of mental illness including depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and ADHD*.

According to research carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, 87 per cent of people who own a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76 per cent said they could cope with everyday life much better thanks to the company of their feline friends.

So what can our pets actually help us with?

Fighting Stress and Anxiety: Studies show that having a pet lowers stress levels. The positive feelings that being around or stroking pets can produce, enhance our ability to stay calm and react better to life stress. 

Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Alzheimer’s patients have shown fewer anxious outbursts if there was a pet at home*.

Increasing Productivity: Most pets require a structured routine, which means pet owners are encouraged to become organised and focused. Studies show this can also help you feel fulfilment and a greater sense of purpose. 

Keeping Fit and Active: Owning a pet usually encourages us to move around much more than we would without one. Instead of staying in, dog owners in particular are more likely to go outside and socialize with other dogs and their owners.

Providing Emotional Support: Did you know that dogs, more than any animal, have evolved to be acutely receptive to our emotions?

They are able to understand our tones, read our body langue and gestures and even read our emotional states. Whatever your pet might be, the bond between you will undoubtedly provide you with emotional support.

If you’re considering introducing a pet to your life to improve your mental wellbeing, perhaps you could offer a home to one of the homeless animals in our care, who are also searching for a friend to lend a helping hand. Click here for more.

* https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/pills-dont-teach-skills/201102/pets-kids-add 
* https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/alzheimers-disease-magic-pets

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