This mental health week let’s look at, and celebrate 4 ways that pets improve our mental health. As a Vet and carer to my beautiful Kelpie Red, the following holds true to me as it does also to countless clients I’ve had the pleasure to look after.
1. Pets reduce stress
Stress is a major risk factor to ill health. The mere action of stroking or talking to your pet is shown to elevate your levels of serotonin and dopamine helping you be happy and calm. Not surprisingly, pets have also been shown to cause decrease human blood pressure and heart rate.
2. Pets reduce loneliness
They combat loneliness by providing unconditional companionship. The kind of unconditional love that not every one is lucky enough to have without their fur kid.
3. Pets promote feelings of self-worth and self-esteem
The special way they greet you when you walk in the door, how they freely dish out that unconditional affection and attention, and how you never, ever need question their loyalty.
4. Pets encourage conversation
Walking your pet dog results in more conversations than walking alone and helps you to build your social networks. Just glance at the local dog park to see this in action. A far more interesting conversation starter than the old weather one!