The Impact of Pets on Our Mental and Emotional Health
Pets are our best friends, and they can affect our emotional state. Keep reading to learn how pets can be a wonderful way to foster emotional and intellectual growth in your children and help ease the transition into your new family life if you’ve gone through a divorce or separation.
Are you looking for a new excuse to get a new pet? If that’s the case, read on about some of the benefits that pets can provide to your life and why you may want to consider adding one to your home. As a single parent it will be an additional challenge to care for another living being but the reward of caring for an animal and the happiness it brings into your child or children’s lives will undoubtedly be worth it.
Dogs have always been people’s best friends, and there is truth to that age-old saying. It doesn’t matter whether you welcome a cat, dog, fish, or turtle into your home. Any pet can have a positive impact on our emotional health.
Caring for a pet can give some people a sense of being needed and being loved. It can give those who are elderly, sick, disabled or depressed a reason to live. Walking a dog can have physical and psychological benefits and provide opportunities for socializing, exercise and getting outdoors.
Taking care of pets helps to take the focus off of the owner’s problems and concerns. And we’re not just talking dogs and cats here. It can be a hamster, bird, horse, pig or ferret. Even watching fish in an aquarium can be calming and distracting from life’s challenges.
Pets Make us Happier and healthier
There are many ways to treat anxiety, stress, or depression. People try to improve their mental health through exercise, good nutrition, medical help, and therapy. These can all be important and useful ways to deal with mental health disorders.
However, new research suggests that the companionship of a pet can alleviate anxiety and stress. This is especially important for people who are currently going through a grieving process such as a divorce or separation as a way to ease loneliness.
Studies have shown that caring for a pet can keep blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol down. It can also contribute to better overall health by boosting the immune system and reducing stress which is well known to be a major contributing factor to heart disease and other ailments. Specially trained dogs have even been known to “sniff” illness such as cancer before the person or their care provider are aware of a problem.
Pets Keep Us Trim!
Some pets are household dwellers, while others can get you up and running! Dogs, for instance, need regular walking and outdoor time. It’s a great opportunity for you to break away from your daily routine and exercise your body and mind as well!
By getting a dose of cardiovascular exercise every day, you could see a big improvement in your physical and mental health. Not to mention, you’ll make your dog a lot happier!
You and Your Child Will Have a Best Friend forever
We always remember our childhood pets for the friendship and affection they gave us, and for the fun times we spent taking care of them. Most pets give affection and friendship freely (although cats can sometimes play hard to get.)
Many elderly people are devoted to their pets. This is because pets provide them with the intimacy and company that may be lacking in their social lives. A pet can also give an older individual a sense of purpose, responsibility, and a schedule to stick to after retirement.
Seniors aren’t the only ones who benefit from the company of pets. All children can benefits from caring for a pet, as a way to learn about responsibilities and simply taking care of another being. In addition to that, kids who are on the autistic spectrum, or individuals who have gone through trauma, can find solace in caring for a pet.
Pets Give Kids a Reason to Be Responsible
Pets can drastically improve lives emotionally, keep us in shape and give us a purpose to care for something outside of ourselves.
As single parents fostering values such as respect, manners and hard work is a tough job. Keeping a pet in particular, allows parents to teach the importance of responsibility to their offspring.
Introducing a dog or cat to the family is an aspect that everyone can enjoy proving learning morals and values can be fun as well as educational.
Small animals in particular make great starter pets. Rabbits and hamsters are not only easy to hold and pick up but are great with kids if introduced to them from an early age. Getting kids to take on the role of feeding or cleaning out the rabbit hutch or hamster cage is an ideal way to teach responsibility. They will quickly tire of it but don’t take over the task for them!
Explaining to the child that the pet relies on the them to put in fresh bedding or water allows the child to understand that he or she is responsible for the pet’s welfare and happiness. Paralleling the child’s role to the pet as similar to that of a parent is a good way to encourage caring and nurturing behavior between child and pet.
Larger pets such as dogs are an ideal way for parents to encourage good time keeping amongst youngsters. Older children, say from the age of 12 and up, can be encouraged to take the dog for a walk at a certain time everyday. While having a set occurrence in their day allows youngsters to develop their time keeping skills around this element of their day, it’s also a great way for younger children to get used to a daily routine.
If each morning involves going for a walk with a parent and the dog, the child can knows what to expect from that part of their day. Following a daily routine has been shown to help children relax and remain more focused later on in life.
Regardless of your background, you can certainly benefit from the rich depth of emotions and experience any pet can bring to your day-to-day. Having said that, you also owe something to your animal friends in return. You should take care of them and avoid neglect!
If you’d like to have a pet but can’t take care of it, there are people who will walk, feed, groom, and clean up after your dog or other animal for a nominal amount of money. You may even be able to find a volunteer to do that for you, especially if you or your loved one is elderly, sick or disabled.
If having a pet is not possible or practical for you, research pet therapy in your area and make a phone call. Many of these services are available for free. Ask at your local animal shelter, veterinarian office, hospital or nursing home to find this service in your area.
There’s nothing crueler than a defenseless pet that does not receive the proper care. Some people leave dogs indoors for days, without the opportunity to go out for a walk. Some cat owners never clean their litters, and people with fish tanks often neglect to clean the water, forcing the poor fishes to swim in filth. The list goes on and on.
Your pet will be a new member of your family and deserves to be treated as such. If you are considering getting a pet, remember that they are going to need your daily time and attention, because they will depend on you for their most basic needs and love you forever!