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The therapeutic benefits of pets

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We all know how guide dogs benefit the blind but do you know domestic pets can benefit us also with stress, loneliness, social interaction and exercise. The therapeutic benefits of pets is greatly overlooked by us humans and we really don’t realise how much they enrich our lives.

How pets affect your mood and health

We as animal lovers are aware of the joy our pets bring to us, we don’t always see the physical and mental affect they have on our lives.

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression or stress related illnesses.
  • Playing with animals can elevate serotonin levels which keep us relaxed and calm.
  • Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without pets.
  • Pet owners over 65 make fewer visits to the doctors than those without pets.
  • Watching fish swimming can help relieve muscle tension and make you feel relaxed.
  • People with dogs who walk them regularly have more chance of meeting new people as they often interact with other dog walkers.

The bond between pets and humans is great, the need to touch as humans creates a lifelong bond with your pet, stroking a pet can rapidly reduce stress levels and calm down stressful situations.

Pets and older adults

Pets can play a huge role in the health and wellbeing of an older adult, retiring or losing a loved one can result in an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Caring for a pet can bring a great deal  of pleasure into your life, boost morale and fill you with optimism.

Staying connected with people is really important and maintaining a good social network is harder as we get older, dogs are a great way for adults to engage in general chit chat with other dog walkers.

Looking after yourself goes without saying, having a pet encourages play, laughter and exercise which can help boost your immune system and energy levels.

Having a pet especially if you are on your own brings great companionship and love into your life, having pets around takes away all the feelings of loneliness and makes life so much more positive.

therapeutic benefits of pets

Kids with learning and other disorders

Some children with Autism or other learning disabilities often interact with pets better than people, learning to interact with a cat or dog may often help with the interaction with people.

Learning to ride a horse can lift a child’s self -esteem and confidence, they can feel more on a level around children without learning disabilities.

Playing with a pet could help exercise and assertiveness, also a great antidote for stress and frustration caused by disabilities.

What to consider when getting a pet

  • Always consider your needs and situation when looking at getting a pet, also consider their needs too which is very important,  your age, where you live, time commitment and your garden.
  • If you are inactive or have limited mobility a cat, rabbit or fish would probably be more suitable.
  • If your home is neat, tidy and hair free then a dog or long haired cat may not be ideal. Maybe an animal that is confined to its quarters like hamsters, gerbils, birds or even fish would be more suitable.

Taking all these points into consideration and whichever animal, bird or fish you choose they bring a great deal of pleasure and companionship into our lives.

 

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About Zena Grantham

About Zena Grantham

Zena is a baking fanatic spending most of her free time dreaming up her next tasty recipe. She has been known to accidentally make people fall off their diet or healthy eating wagon with chocolate cakes!

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