There are many physical and emotional health benefits that come from sharing your life with a dog, cat, or other companion animal. We all know how cuddling with a beloved pet lowers our stress, and walking a dog provides a great opportunity for exercise.
The mental health benefits of pet ownership can help people struggling with many different issues. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, having a pet can help with a wide range of problems, including:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Childhood Development
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- PTSD and Trauma
Many evidence-based studies show that a pet can be an important component of your emotional well-being.
One recent British study of people with long-term mental health conditions found that pets are a “main” and not just a “marginal” source of support in mental health management. Pets offer several benefits (particularly for people with limited social networks), including:
- Providing a secure and intimate relationship not available elsewhere.
- Helping people manage feelings by providing a distraction from upsetting experiences.
- Providing an incentive for increased engagement and activity.
People participating in substance abuse treatment can also find pets to be very helpful in the recovery process. Treatment providers outline such benefits as:
- Improved social life.
- Reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Giving people a sense of purpose (especially when they adopt a homeless animal).
If you are thinking about opening your home to a new pet, make sure you fully understand the requirements of pet ownership first. Check out this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about pet adoption HERE.