Pet Positivity: How pets benefit our mental and physical health


This month is National Pet Month and across our team we’re celebrating by sharing some cute snaps of our pets. It got us thinking, we all love our pets for the obvious reasons, but what benefits are our pets having on our mental and physical health…


What are the benefits of owning a pet?

There’s much more to our furry companions than we might realise. Although we care for them, walk them, feed them, and love them, they also have a big impact on our wellbeing in a positive way.

Here are some of the top benefits of having pets…

Reducing Loneliness

Having pets around us is a great way to reduce loneliness and introduce a sense of companionship. Particularly for older people or people who live alone, introducing a pet or having a pet in the house is a great way to reduce the feelings of loneliness. Pets also help to introduce routine and a sense of purpose which can contribute to reducing loneliness. Most of us see our pets as part of the family, which can mean we feel less lonely when they’re around. The bond between a pet and their owner can be incredibly special and social interactions with our pets increase levels of the feel-good hormone - oxytocin.


Reducing Stress

Although sometimes our pets can be stressful if they’re unwell, won’t stop barking or are playing up, but it has been proven that pets help reduce stress and anxiety. Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease the stress hormone – cortisol. Although pets won’t be able to solve all your problems, spending more quality time with your pet, and taking time out from life’s stresses with them will help to refresh your mind and calm you.




Increased Physical Activity and Exercise

Of course, not all pets need walking, however, a pet that does will definitely get you out and about more. Pets that need walking require extra responsibility to ensure they get the exercise they need. If you weren't much of an active person before, this will help with exercising more. This can also make walking much more enjoyable and purposeful. Other animals, such as horses are also a great way to get out and exercising. 


Increased Sense of Purpose and Responsibility

Pets give us a great sense of purpose and responsibility. With pets relying on us, it can introduce more routine into our lives, establish healthy routines and prioritising self-care. It’s no joke when people say their pets are like their children and they do come with a lot of responsibility. This sense of purpose can also help with anxiety, depression and loneliness.


More Socialisation and Meeting New People

Pets can be a great a way to socialise and meet new people. You may come across other pet owners or people in the park, on a walk or at a class. You may also join a specific group related to your pet, for example a dog walking or horse riding club. This is a great way to socialise more and potentially meet likeminded people and make friends. Plus, if you have a very cute furry friend, you may even spark up a conversation just by being out in public.

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Health Benefits

One of the health benefits pets have on us is lowering blood pressure. It’s true, pets can help your heart health. Stroking your pet can be a stress soother, which contributes to lowering blood pressure. It also soothes your pet and calms them too – so everyone’s a winner! The calming effects pets have on us and increased physical activity they bring are typically the reasons research suggests they can reduce blood pressure.


Increased Serotonin Levels

When we interact with our animals in a positive way, it releases oxytocin, a hormone which has been linked to positive emotional states. Playing with pets has also be known to elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine. So it's no wonder, that all these benefits from spending time with our pets helps us feel good.


What's the best pet for seniors?

Smaller pets like birds, rabbits and cats with less responsibility are considered the best pets for seniors to own. They provide a sense of responsibility and companionship, without the full commitment of a pet such as a larger dog. It's commonly known that dogs provide a special bond with humans, so if looking for a great companion it may be best for seniors to get smaller dogs who require less effort, need less exercise and spend more time relaxing through the day. They're also easier to keep clean and can be easier to control.


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Are pets good for children?

Pets have also been proven to have a positive effect on children too. They can be extremely calming for children. It has also been found that children growing up around animals are less likely to develop allergies or asthma.

Dogs can help to create understanding of responsibility and routine from an early age as well as the ability to build relationships with others.

Pets have proven to be particularly wonderful for children with learning disorders or other challenges, finding they are better to interact with pets than people, helping to also calm children with their stress reducing abilities.

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