Among the 7.8 billion humans living on the planet, 57% are pet owners and caretakers. Out of this number, 33% own dogs, 23% hold cats, 12% have fish, and 6% keep birds. Rodents, reptiles, and other pets compose the remaining 6% of such population.
If you already have a pet, then you know why people love nurturing domesticated animals. And if you haven’t, then maybe you still don’t know enough about the benefits of having a pet.
Pets are known to decrease blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Aside from these physical effects, taking care of pets also improves your overall well-being, especially your mental health. But how can your pet positively affect your mental health?
Building Healthy Habits
Taking care of pets is just like nurturing your children. But unlike children, they’re of lower maintenance. Your pets only need a cozy home, proper nutrition, regular check-ups with a vet, and exercise. You don’t even have to enroll them and spend money on education! All you need to do to improve your pet’s knowledge is by training them.
But even if they are low maintenance, you still have to keep track of their well-being. You have to feed them properly, accompany them for vet visits, and encourage them to be active. These chores require some organizational skills and patience, so you have to put in an effort.
And since pets don’t usually cry like babies when they need something, you may not know what they need. To solve this, some pet owners schedule these simple pet tasks. This easy activity can help people with mental disorders, especially kids with ADHD. Once you get used to these scheduled tasks, you can apply your organizational skills to improve your self-care habits.
Securing A Lifelong Friend
Besides helping kids with ADHD, pets also help elderly owners with their Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown how pets, especially dogs, can enhance self-esteem and confidence in dementia patients.
But pets aren’t just lifelong friends because of their role in elderly care. Pets are always with you in everything you do. They can accompany you even in your most significant life changes. With their constant presence, they can help keep you grounded on your priorities.
Meeting A Trusted Companion
You can do almost anything with your pets. You can travel and try new hobbies with your pets. And with your pet’s excitement and nuanced view of the world, you can enjoy activities in new and fun ways.
If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know they can be hyper sometimes. Utilize their wild bursts of energy by taking them out for walks in the park. Or if you’re leaning into a more athletic track, you can take them out for running or jogging routines. You can also bring them to your hikes to help them run in the wild.
But if your pet is more on domestic activities, you can try knitting, photography, and even cloud or bird watching. These activities can be hobbies you can enjoy with a cat or a hamster. All these activities can benefit your mental health by giving you an enjoyable time while taking a hiatus from stress and anxiety.
Gaining A Confidante
Aside from hobbies, pets are also easy to confide in with your thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling tired or stressed after a long day at work, you may not be in the mood for socialization. But feelings of tiredness can degrade your mental health if not remedied with the warmth of another being. If you’re feeling lonely and isolated, your pet can give you this kind of love.
You can vent out to them about your activities, and they will listen to you. Since they can’t talk back, you can share your story without judgment and interruptions. But even if they can’t provide you with kind words, they can still improve your mood with their light touches. Cats will curl up in your lap, and dogs will swipe their tongue. These simple gestures are just some of your pet’s love languages.
Participating In Pet Communities
Having a pet may lead you to join groups or associations for pets. These communities often have steps and tips on how to improve your pet’s lives. Once you immerse into these pet communities, you’ll be able to build new and meaningful friendships beneficial to your mental health.
You’ll be able to bond with your community through scheduled park walking and playdates. But these new friendships can also go beyond the simple meet and greets. You can also find common hobbies you have with other members of your pet community. You’ll be bonding more than ever, and the next thing you know, you’ve found another lifelong friend.
Indeed, taking care of a pet and seeing them as your own family can help in different ways. Some people have secured a lifelong friend, gained a companion and confidante, and enjoyed having communities.
If you want these benefits for yourself, you can start by improving your pet care or getting your first pet. You can choose a dog, a cat, or even domestic snakes. Whatever kind of pet you want to get, you can still gain these life-changing mental health benefits.