There’s nothing quite like coming home to a furry friend after a long day at work.
If you have noticed that you tend to feel happier in the presence of your pet, you aren’t alone. Pets offer a whole host of benefits, many of which positively affect your mental health. While some breeds and species are more beneficial than others, pets can elevate our quality of life, whether it be by helping us get more exercise or offering routine and companionship.
Pets make us feel loved.
It’s a basic human need to love and be loved, and caring for a companion animal offers just that. Since they depend on their owners for food, exercise, and to maintain a clean body and environment, pets can make you feel wanted and needed. Many pets also offer unconditional love, and they couldn’t care less about how much money you make, where you live, or a whole host of other things that you may be self-conscious about.
Pets can curb feelings of loneliness.
It’s no secret that animals are great companions. They provide a sense of security and are someone to share your day with. Especially for those who live alone, having a pet means having someone to talk to, touch, and cuddle with when you’re a little down in the dumps.
Pets can lower stress, anxiety, depression, and even blood pressure.
Researchers have found that interacting with animals can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, but the benefits don’t stop there. As owners bond and interact with their pets, they also get a surge of oxytocin, which is often referred to as the love hormone for its ability to make us feel good or happy.
Pets can help us get more fresh air.
While this isn’t the case for all pets, animals such as dogs and horses encourage their owners to get outside, which has an array of benefits, such as boosting vitamin D levels. Whether it’s some much-needed pasture time or just a quick walk around the block, the simple act of getting some sunlight is likely to leave you feeling a little more grounded.
Pets help us move more.
Regard-less of what type of pet you have, it’s likely that caring for it helps you get more movement in your daily or weekly routine. From walking a dog to playing with a kitten to cleaning out a fish tank, a little bit of movement can be the spark that you need to start your day off right!
Pets add routine and structure to our lives.
If you are someone who thrives with a routine but can sometimes struggle to create one, pets can be a great help. Feeding, exercising, and other ways of caring for an animal provide you with a sense of regularity. They can help you wake up, eat dinner, or exercise at a regular time every day, and tacking on tasks before or after your pets’ regularly scheduled events can help form positive habits.
Pets can aid in meeting new people.
From the clerk at the pet store to the stranger at the dog park, having a pet will likely mean increased human interaction. Who knows? Your next best friend may even be the person next to you in a training class.