5 Ways Pets Are Good For Mental Health

Posted by on August 30, 2019 in Animals and Pets, Conscious Living with 0 Comments

By Sofia Alves

Our furry little friends are loveable, snuggly and quite cute members of our families. While we may be providing our dogs and cats with their physical needs of food and nutrition such as raw dog food, water, and shelter, they are usually working around the clock with our mental and emotional needs. Nowadays, you can see dogs especially, walking around indoors or on beaches and in parks where they were once forbidden. This is because more people have begun to apply for service dogs for emotional and mental health needs. Many stores, restaurants, parks, and institutions have begun to make changes to their policies to allow animals to come on the premises under the condition that the owner and animal comply with the rules and regulations. 

You can better adhere to these requests if you have your dog properly trained before taking them with you on outings. You can train your dog at home by your own means, or you can take him or her to a professional trainer. If you choose to train your dog by yourself, you may consider a few different methods, though it is suggested that positive reinforcement is the best method for you. Positive reinforcement stipulates that you should reward your dog when he or she performs the action that you are requesting of him or her. You can find all kinds of tips and tricks for positive reinforcements on sites such as Totally Goldens. Once you get your dog trained well, you will be able to go on whichever outing you have planned without worrying or adding more stress to yourself and your daily routine. 

So, how can having your animal with you help you with your mental health needs? Let’s take a look. 

1. They lower our stress levels

A recently conducted study suggests that having an animal, particularly a dog, will help to lower your anxiety, stress and depression levels. Whether it is cuddling up with your four-legged friend, or going for walks, studies have shown that having an animal lowers your depression. Taking the time to do simple things with your pet, like feeding him or her tasty treats, training, or even just petting the animal can help to lower your stress, anxiety and depression rates. 

2. They raise our “happy hormones”

This may sound a little bit like a funny one, but your body makes hormones that are designed to make you happier and calmer. Two of these hormones are called serotonin and dopamine and having your pet in close proximity helps to raise the level of these two chemicals in the brain. Your dog or cat, or whichever pet you have, literally raises the levels of your “happy hormones”. 

3. Our pets promote a healthy lifestyle

HelpGuide has an array of studies that support the fact that having a pet, especially a dog, promotes a more healthy lifestyle. This is done in subtle ways that have already been discussed, like by reducing depression, which may make you want to stay in bed all day, and by increasing the happy hormones that will make you want to be more outgoing and active. 

4. Having a pet gets you out and about

The other ways a dog can help to promote a healthier lifestyle is a little more obvious. You need to take the dog outside for the toilet, and help clean up after him or her, which gets you spending more time actively. But, you spend even more time being active, is when the dog wants to go for a walk, to play fetch or any other game that gets you up, out and on the go. 

You may also be more comfortable going into social settings, to the store or places that are highly trafficked by people, if you have a pet alongside you. Almost like a safety blanket, taking the pat with you may make going into these stress-inducing environments may help you to stay more calm and relaxed. 

5. Pets may help your social skills and building relationships

While this one may seem a bit strange, as your pet is getting you out of the house and into more social settings, you may find that you are making more friends. People are generally attracted to animals and may want to approach you more easily if you have an animal as well. This helps to strike up a conversation and get you talking with someone that you would normally avoid. Because your dog is getting you out of the house and putting you at ease, you will find it is much less stressful to meet others and form deeper relationships. 

Try getting your animal ready to go out and be with you more often by training him or her the right way, the first time. Take along some tasty doggie treats to help keep him or her on track so that you can get back to the real you in a shorter time. 

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