Psychological and physical benefits of pet ownership

Jul 24, 2021 12:02:13 PM

“Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly.” George MacDonald.

Pets are lovely creatures. Cats and dogs are the most commonly kept pet animals around the globe because they easily develop strong emotional bonds with human beings.

There are a lot of mental and physical benefits which are associated with keeping pets. Here, we will discuss the psychological and physical benefits of keeping pets in detail under the light of scientific literature.

So, how do pets influence our psychological health?

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” Bern Williams.

According to a research study conducted by a team of expert psychiatrists from Purdue University and the University of Pennsylvania:

“Pets have a number of positive psychological benefits. Interacting/playing with pets gives alleviation in stress and anxiety.”

According to a recent research study conducted at University of York and Lincoln: (I don’t there is an institution called University of York and Lincoln.  Should it not be two separate institutions so render it as “According to a recent research study conducted at York and Lincoln universities:”

“Pets play an important role in improving mental health. They create strong emotional bonds with their owners that lead to better mental health and aids in reducing a sense of loneliness.”

More than 90% attendants from UK claimed that, during the worst period of lockdown, pets helped them staying active and fit.

Five of the top psychological and physical benefits of our bond with pets:

  1. Interaction with pets reduces anxiety, depression, and a sense of loneliness, along with other psychological troubles.
  2. Playing with pets (cats, dogs) relaxes the human body because of the secretion of good hormones (serotonin and dopamine). These hormones have a positive influence on stress and anxiety.
  3. Playing with pets boosts self-esteem and confidence in humans.
  4. Pets have a significant influence on lowering blood pressure, maintaining heart rate, and improving shortness of breath. Additionally, heart patients with pets survive longer than those who don’t have pets.
  5. Pets help in soothing Alzheimer’s patients. It has been documented that Alzheimer’s patients suffer fewer anxious outburst and less stress, if pets are around them.

Best of all, it’s not all just about the adult owners!

Interestingly, pets are good for humans of all ages. Children get many physical and mental benefits by playing/interacting with pets. Some important benefits have been summarized below:

  • Interaction with pets helps children feel important and build new relationships.
  • Playing with pets is good for those children who have behavioural challenges, such as aggression and stubbornness.
  • Playing with pets decreases the loneliness and separation anxiety in children. It also helps them to develop a positive self-image and stronger self-esteem.
  • Last but not least, studies have revealed that interaction with pets also enhances the learning and decision-making capabilities of our children by stimulating the brain, For instance, kids with autism and other atypical communication conditions benefit hugely from positive interaction with pets. This interaction with pets can have a calming effect and acts as an antidote to the frustrations caused by learning and social challenges. 

Health benefits for the more elderly too

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms”. George Eliot.

Pets give a lot of mental and physical benefits to the elderly. In old age, due to sudden changes in the body or some environmental or domestic causes, some people may start getting depression and other age-related mental ailments. By engaging with pets, they feel relaxed and can avoid boredom.

Additionally, pets help in increasing your vitality. Interacting with pets increases exercise, playfulness and other physical activities, which can have a positive impact on the immune system and overall wellness of more senior individuals. This is why it has been stated that pets can enhance the optimism, morale and self-worth of the elderly.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw.

According to research conducted at the NHS State Hospital in South Lanarkshire, Scotland,
it was concluded that animal-assisted therapy plays an important role in reducing the mental stress, depression and age-associated mood complications in patients with severe mental ailments.

Interaction with pets decreases the amount of bad lipids and cholesterol in the body which ultimately exerts a positive influence on cardiac health. That’s why, interaction with pets may decrease the incidence of heart attack in older people.

Moreover, it is reported that interaction with pets helps in recovery of old age diseases such as dementia and other brain degenerative conditions.

Animal-assisted therapy is on the rise

Due to the known, and emerging knowledge of the psychological and physical health benefits of pets, they are becoming more widely used and more popular for therapeutic purposes. Used only under professional supervision and settings, our lovely pets can assist with a variety of mental health ailments. Dogs lead the way and are the most commonly used animal for psychotherapy purposes.

Five finishing points:

  1. Having a pet provides you with companionship and helps you to meet new people.
  2. Having a pet decreases anxiety and depression.
  3. Having a pet increases confidence and self-esteem.
  4. Having a pet encourages exercise and helps keeps you physically fit and mentally active.
  5. Having a pet can help support children with learning challenges and difficulties. Animal companions are recognised as nice antidote to frustration and stress caused by learning or social difficulties.

Reward your pet by feeding the very best of British

With 30 years of experience, Trophy Pet Foods prides itself on the quality of our raw ingredients and the craftmanship of our low-volume batch preparation. We have been feeding the bond between owners and their pets since 1991 with a 5-star Trustpilot rating and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. To lean more about our range and services please visit: our how-we-work page.

References:

  • Hart, L.A. (2006). Community context and psychosocial benefits of animal companionship. In A. Fine (Ed.) Handbook of animal-assisted therapy (pp.73–94). London: Academic Press
  • Pehle MA. Healing relationships with companion dogs in the therapeutic process: An exploratory qualitative study. AAI3406177: 2010. p. 3365.
  • Wisdom JP, Saedi GA, Green CA. Another breed of “service” animals: STARS study findings about pet ownership and recovery from serious mental illness. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2009;79(3):430–6.
  • Zimolag U, Krupa T. The occupation of pet ownership as an enabler of community integration in serious mental illness: a single exploratory case study. Occupier Ment Health. 2010;26(2):176–96
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2019/05/12/8-ways-pets-improve-your-health-and-wellbeing/?sh=4027b8aa3d4
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