National Pet Month focuses on how pets can help mental health
3rd April 2019
This year, National Pet Month is running from 1st April to 6th May with a focus on how pets can help our mental health. We take a look at how our pets can help to keep us calm and relaxed.
Pets vs people
Many pet owners will feel more relaxed when they are in the presence of their pets rather than in the presence of close friends or family members. It’s perhaps the unconditional love that pets give us that makes us feel this way and the fact they can’t disagree with us!
Reduce blood pressure and stress
When we stroke our pets or watch them playing happily, it can reduce our blood pressure and help us to feel more relaxed. Dog owners in particular tend to have lower blood pressure because they exercise more with their pet, and physical health is linked to mental health. Walking is also a great stress reliever because getting out in the fresh air and meeting other dog owners can be a calming pastime.
People who live alone can struggle with loneliness but owning a pet can help to alleviate it. Pets offer companionship and a purpose to a person’s daily routine. Dog owners are more likely to get out and about and meet new people – socialisation can be a great boost for a person’s mental health. Many older people live alone, so a small dog or cat can really help them in their daily lives.
Mental health conditions
Pets can help children and adults with mental health conditions, such as autism, to have fewer meltdowns. Parents of children with mental health conditions can also feel less stressed when there is a pet around. So, a pet can help calm the whole family and make day to day life easier.