How pets can have mental benefits for their owners
A pet's love is unconditional and free from judgement. While human relationships can be difficult at times, the bond between a pet and its owner is simple and consistent. Holding or stroking a pet appeals to the human need for physical contact.
Physical activity has long been linked with improved mental health and as dogs need to be walked every day, they are the perfect exercise buddy. Research has shown that exercise releases chemicals in the brain that help to boost self-esteem.
Owning a pet can improve a person's sense of self-importance and value. Feeding, walking and caring for a pet can add a positive focus to a person's life and show them they are capable of more than they might think.
Having a daily schedule can be helpful for people with depression. A pet's daily routine of waking its owner in the morning and needing to be fed and walked can help bring a sense of routine and organisation into the day.
Depression and anxiety can make sufferers feel isolated. Having the company and love of a pet can lessen the feeling of being alone.
Meeting other pet owners while walking the dog or buying food in the pet store can introduce owners to more social contact. Pet owners love talking about their pets and it can be a great conversation starter.