How Pets Can Help Your Mental Health | West Way Nissan
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  • How Pets Can Help Your Mental Health
  • 13 March 2020

    How Pets Can Help Your Mental Health

    Pets are a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners. The companionship that a pet offers is a great way of reducing stress, anxiety and improving mental health overall.

    Depression
    Pets have proven to have a calming effect on people. Even just from sitting by or stroking a pet allows owners to relax and take their minds off any worries they may have. Pets, especially dogs are also a great excuse to get outside and exercise which can benefit those suffering from depression. Taking care of a pet also adds purpose to your day and helps owners feel valuable and needed. Studies have also found that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets as playing with a dog or a cat elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine which can help people calm and relax.



    Socialising
    Pets can help to tackle loneliness as they make a great companion. They provide company to their owners and allow them to share their day with them which is particularly valuable to those living alone and older people. Walking a dog usually leads to conversations with other dog owners, allowing owners to stay socially connected. Those who have more social relationships tend to have improved mental health. The companionship of an animal can also help to reduce anxiety and increase self confidence for those who are nervous about going out as if you have a dog, it makes you want to go out for them.



    Autism & ADHD
    Dogs and horses have been used for sensory integration activities for children with autism as sensory issues are common among them. This has allowed them to get used to how something feels, smells or sounds and has proven to be calming for them. Many people with autism struggle to connect socially with others and it has been claimed that animals have increased the desire to socialise whilst also reducing stereotypical behaviour.

     

    Children with ADHD can also benefit from keeping a pet as it is a great way of releasing excess energy. Pets need to exercise and playing with a pet can use up energy, allowing the child to be more relaxed and calmer at night. The schedule that comes with keeping a pet such as walking, feeding and washing can also help a child learn to be responsible. Pets offer unconditional love and are great listeners which can also aid a child’s self-confidence.


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