Pet owners are likely to agree that pets are good for a human’s mental health because of the happiness and comfort they give us.
Pets are Good for Everyone
The bond between humans and their pets are unique, undeniable, and strong. Everywhere you look, there are people spoiling their pets and treating them like they are human babies.
No only are they cute and a great companion, there are studies that show positive effects that pets can have on our health.
Pets, especially dogs, are increasingly being recognized for their therapeutic value, according to researchers. While cats can also be wonderful companions, dogs have been domesticated for a much longer time and are easier to train for companionship.
Studies have shown that pets, particularly dogs, can offer several benefits to their owners. Some of the benefits include providing unconditional love and companionship, reducing stress and anxiety levels, promoting physical activity, providing a sense of purpose and responsibility, and offering social support.
Dogs have been known to offer emotional support to individuals with certain mental health conditions. This support has been linked to the release of the hormone oxytocin, which is associated with positive emotional states such as trust and affection.
Pets and The Positive Effect on Humans
Dogs and other pets can have many positive effects on our mental health. Here are some reasons why:
- Unconditional love and companionship: Pets can provide us with a sense of unconditional love and companionship, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Reduced stress and anxiety: Petting a dog or cat has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Being around pets can also help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
- Increased physical activity: Dogs require exercise and playtime, which can motivate their owners to get out and be more physically active. Regular exercise can help improve mood and reduce stress.
- Sense of purpose and responsibility: Taking care of a pet can provide a sense of purpose and responsibility, which can be especially beneficial for people who may be struggling with depression or low self-esteem.
- Social support: Pets can also help people connect with others who share a similar interest in animals. This can provide a sense of social support and help build new relationships.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are animals that are prescribed by a mental health professional to provide emotional support to individuals with certain mental health conditions. ESAs are typically dogs, but they can also be cats or other animals.
ESAs are different from service animals, which are trained to perform specific tasks to help individuals with disabilities, like guiding people who are blind or alerting those with hearing impairments. ESAs, on the other hand, are not trained to perform specific tasks. Instead, they provide comfort and emotional support to their owners.
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), individuals with emotional or psychological disabilities are allowed to have ESAs in housing and on flights, even if pets are not normally allowed or there are restrictions on the number or type of pets allowed.
While ESAs can provide emotional support, they aren’t considered service animals and are not granted the same access rights.
Not all people with mental health conditions benefit from having an ESA.
Before You Get a Pet
If you think having a pet would be good for your mental health, take some time to think about the best kind of pet for your lifestyle.
Overall, having a pet can be a wonderful way to improve our mental health and overall well-being, but it’s a big responsibility and requires a significant commitment of time, energy, and resources, so consider these factors before bringing a pet into your home.
By getting a pet, you agree to take care of another creature for the rest of their life. You have to consider the time and money you’ll need to invest in pet care. On the flip side, having a pet has a lot of rewards, including mental health benefits.
You can learn more about animals by talking to a vet or animal trainer in your area.
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