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The healing powers of pets

Our pets are members of our family and hold a special place in our hearts. They offer unconditional love, companionship, loyalty, and joy. They need us to care for them, to invest our time, look after their health, and provide affection, but this relationship is not one-sided. Have you ever thought about how good pets are for us? What exactly are the health benefits of owning a pet? Here we will explore some of the ways our animal friends contribute to our overall well-being, so let’s dive into the healing powers of pets.

Physical health

Animal companions can be the motivation we need to stay active and improve our physical health. Whether it’s taking your dog for a walk or engaging in playtime with your cat, when it comes to movement, every little helps! Regular walks and play sessions with pets promote physical activity, helping us maintain a healthier weight, increasing heart and lung fitness, maintaining mobility, and improving balance.

On top of outdoor exercise, studies have shown that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Just the presence of pets has an impact on blood pressure, generally by causing your body to release relaxation hormones. There have actually been several studies looking into this relationship.

 

What’s more is that pets do not just benefit us adults, it has also been shown that children growing up with pets has been linked to a stronger immune system, leading to fewer allergies and asthma-related issues.

If you’d like to find out more, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) collects all the latest information regarding the positive health effects of companion animals.

Mental health

As well as our physical health, pets can have a huge impact on our mental well-being too. Interacting with animals (cuddling, playing and petting) has been found to release oxytocin, a hormone which reduces stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Caring for a pet can also provide a sense of purpose and responsibility, fostering a routine and structure in an owner’s life.

These simple acts can work wonders for your mental tranquillity and can be especially beneficial during challenging times.

Loneliness

Pets can also help to alleviate loneliness. They provide unwavering companionship and unconditional love, combating feelings of isolation. They are steadfast confidants, and non-judgemental listeners, making them easy to talk to. As well as providing company, there is also a direct relationship between having a pet and being more sociable. Whether it be walking your dog (or cat!), at the vets, or in the local pet store, there are increased opportunities for getting out and about, chatting, and connecting with other pet owners, alleviating feelings of isolation; check out this post for more info.

Loneliness can affect us all at times and can have a big impact on our mental well-being. If you are struggling with this, please check out our blog post on different ways to combat loneliness, or if you’d like to help others in this situation, maybe have a look at what Campaign to End Loneliness are up to.

Final thoughts

All in all, pets have a remarkable effect on managing mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. They offer a sense of purpose, routine, comfort, and promote emotional well-being. Combined with the physical benefits of having a pet, the love and joy that they bring to us, these animals truly enrich our lives in so many ways. So, whether you’re considering getting a pet or already have one, cherish the bond you share, and let the healing powers of pets enhance your overall health and happiness.

Remember, CPC is here to support you through every step of your pet journey, from animal care tips to grief support and more. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts as we continue to explore the incredible world of pets and their profound impact on our lives.

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