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BFFs: The Influence of Pets on Mental Health


After a tough day at school or work, countless people look forward to being at home with somebody who loves them. Coming home to a beloved pet can be truly soothing. Cats, dogs, etc. - a variety of animals are often considered best friends. They are loyal, warm and can often sense when their human is having a bit of a low. Innumerable studies regularly show that pets make us happier and healthier by decreasing blood pressure and releasing the "happy hormones" oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. But how?

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom" data-headline="Sense of life"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Sense of life</h2>

Animals rely on us for feeding, exercise and other fundamental needs like playtime and support. When we care for another living creature, we feel good because we feel we are vital and loved.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 2" data-headline="Responsibility"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Responsibility</h2>

We are more willing to take care of ourselves when something or someone else is also depending on us. Pets bring a strong sense of responsibility into the owner's life.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 3" data-headline="Connectedness"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Connectedness</h2>

Not only do you feel connected to your pet, but you may feel connected to other pet owners too! You can talk about your pets to break the ice. Who doesn't like to brag about their pet? 

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 4" data-headline="Get grounded"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Get grounded</h2>

Studies show that animals provide a sense of comfort and connection. When someone is feeling anxious or depressed, animals can sense that and jump on our laps and activate our senses. We can feel the animal, see it, hear it, etc. This gives us the opportunity to ground ourselves with our senses and can even reduce our stress and anxiety.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 5" data-headline="Physical activity"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Physical activity</h2>

Pets encourage exercise. Most pets need to go outside to do their business or exercise, and this gets us up and moving for them.

<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Custom 6" data-headline="Support"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Support</h2>

Some animals are trained as support animals to recognise stressful situations, help someone find their way around, or recognise signs of mental health problems. Service animals are trained to meet their owners' needs - comforting them when they take medication, reminding them to breathe when they are scared, and more.

Owning a pet can bring some challenges, but the rewards are priceless!