Our pets are our best friends and provide us with unconditional love, but did you know that studies have shown that animals can also improve our mental and physical health?
Here are some ways in which your furry friends can help you lead a healthier and happier life.
Ease depression and anxiety.
Research from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute has found that being around pets can help people better deal with depression. The study found people with long-term mental health issues benefited from being around pets.
A pet provides unconditional love, gives you someone to talk to and helps create calmness. A dog also encourages people to get out of the house to walk and play with their dog, groom and spend time with their animal.
Creates social connections
An animal is a great way to meet people and create new social connections.
People with dogs can meet people while out walking their dog, at the dog park or the beach, and start conversations with other dog owners while their dogs play.
Owning a horse or horse riding can create social connections through adult riding groups or trail rides with other horse owners.
If you can’t have a pet you can still benefit from social connections through animals. Volunteer at an animal refuge, foster a pet or offer to walk a neighbour or friend’s dog.
A study by the American Heart Association in 2013 found that there was a link between pet ownership and decreased cardiovascular disease risk. The study found people with pets generally had better recreational physical activity and healthier lifestyles.
Lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol
Having a pet encourages you to exercise with your pet, whether it be daily walks or running along the beach playing with your pet. People who have pets tend to have lower levels of cholesterol, compared with people who don’t because of the healthier lifestyle that comes with having pets.
People with pets also generally have lower blood pressure.
It only takes a few minutes spending time with our dog or cat to feel calmer and less stressed.
We can have a stressful day at work and walk through the door, see our pet and feel instantly better.
Our body goes through a physical change when we spend time with our pets, the level of cortisol (stress hormone) lowers and serotonin a chemical which boosts your mood, rises.
Black Swan Health’s headspace offices in Osborne Park and Joondalup will soon have a new team member on board. Our new therapy dog Kyzer is a golden retriever and specialises in helping young people with their mental health. We can’t wait to have Kyzer on board!