A veterinary nurse from animal charity PDSA reveals the 5 mental health benefits of owning a pet

Owning an animal can benefit your mental and physical health - here are five mental health benefits of owning a pet according to UK charity PDSA

A veterinary nurse has revealed the mental health benefits of owning a pet. This comes as a great time for many as January is regarded by some as the most depressing month of the year.

Research conducted by leading animal charity PDSA has revealed that 84% of owners believe their pet improves their mental health. The PDSA is the UK’s largest veterinary charity.

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In 2021, the PDSA provided 1.8m veterinary treatments, and saved the lives of 134,000 pets with life-threatening conditions. They prevent the suffering of animals and relieve the effects of poverty on families and communities nationwide with 48 pet hospitals across the UK.

Benefits of owning some pets go far beyond just mental health too. Owning a dog can mean you become more social, and get more exercise too as you take your canine companion out for walks.

But, as we slowly see out the most depressing month of the year, here are five mental health benefits of owning a pet, according to a vet nurse.

The power of companionship

Spending quality time with your pet is beneficial to the wellbeing of both you and your four-legged family member. Humans and animals are social creatures, so this companionship can go a long way in reducing loneliness.

Animals and stress-busting

Research shows that spending just 10 minutes interacting with your pet each day can lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. As well as reducing stress, receiving an animal’s unconditional love without fear of judgement can help build self-confidence.

Routine

Like us humans, pets thrive off of a routine. This can be a specific time for a daily walk, time being fed and more. Providing a routine for your pet can give you a bigger purpose and a reason to get up and attack the day.

Finding the fun in everyday

Sometimes you can slip into a routine where you go through the motions. A good game of tug, chase, or fetch can get you up, moving, and having fun, and brings lots of benefits for our pets as well. Activities like this not only encourage you to get more active but can help you feel less overwhelmed by stressors in your life, too.

Knowing they need us too

Having a pet means they are reliant on you to meet their welfare needs and, for many, this responsibility can stimulate positive feelings such as a sense of belonging, added security, and being in control.

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