The benefits of dogs for mental health and wellbeing
Health and advice14 December 2017The benefits of dogs for mental health and wellbeing

The benefits of dogs for mental health and wellbeing

We all love our pawsome pets and think of them as members of our family – a whopping 95% of pet owners surveyed agreed that this is the case! But did you know that spending time with animals has proven benefits for your mental health and wellbeing?

Doggy member Noodle's nose needs a boop

Animals offer amazing companionship and unconditional love, get us out of the house and even help us to make great new friends (of both the human and animal variety!) In fact, 60% of pet owners said that their pets played the most central role – alongside friends and family – in helping them to manage their mental health and stay happy. It seems that pets are often there for us when very few others are!

If you’ve ever borrowed a dog from BorrowMyDoggy, you know you don’t have to actually own a pet to enjoy these incredible boosts to wellbeing and happiness. Walking a dog and getting out into the sunshine will elevate your mood, lower blood pressure and increase your levels of vitamin D.

Doggy member Oscar is happy sitting on the grass

If you ever struggle with mental health problems like depression, regular exercise with a dog can be as effective as taking antidepressants for treating mild to moderate cases. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem each year, it’s clear that we could all benefit from spending a bit more time with our four-legged friends.

If you’d like to learn more about all the ways that pets can boost happiness and wellbeing, take a look at this infographic created by Animal Health Company!

Pets & mental health. The benefits of pet ownership for wellbeing and happiness.For thousands of years, humans have lived alongside domesticated animals. Now, in a hectic and stressful modern world, pets can be a source of comfort and emotional support, improving our mental health and wellbeing.All around the world, people choose to have pets. 57% of the world's population live with a pet. In 2017, pet care sales exceeded $100 billion.Globally, there are 140 million freshwater fish; 85 million cats; 75 million dogs; 20 million small animals; 10 million horses; 10 million reptiles; 7 million saltwater fish.Owning a pet can do wonders for your mental health. 87% of owners felt their cat had a positive effect on wellbeing. Owning a dog as a child lowers the risk of anxiety from 21% to 12%. 60% said their pets played a central role in helping them to manage their mental health. Listening to cats purring can help to: lower anxiety; reduce blood pressure; calm breathing; encourage meditation. Scientists have discovered the purring frequency of cats is equal to gamma waves - the "meditation waves".Quote "When you just want to sink into a pit and retreat from the entire world, the cats force me to sort of still be involved with the world." Source: www.madamerica.comWhy are pets so good for mental health? Pet owners go outside more and get more exercise. The benefits of sunshine and exercise are: elevated mood; increased vitamin D; lower blood pressure. People with dogs get on average 325 minutes of exercise per week whereas people without dogs get on average 75 minutes of exercise per week. Did you know? Research has shown that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication for treating mild to moderate cases of depression.Pets can help you to meet new people. People with solid social networks are 50% more likely to live longer than those without. It's been proven that pets help people meet new people and make new friends - whether it's someone you met walking your dog, or just someone who loves animals as much as you do! 40% of pet owners report receiving social support via people they met through their pets. "Having our cats as a point in common has made it easier for us to become friends". Pet owners are 60% more likely to get to know their neighbours.Looking for love? As part of a study to determine how animals facilitate social interaction, a man approached 240 women and asked for their numbers. How did having a dog with him affect his success rate? 1 in 10 said yes when the man was alone. 1 in 3 said yes when the dog was present.Pets provide companionship and reduce loneliness. Psychologist Carl Rogers believed "unconditional positive regard" is a fundamental human need. Pets offer this in abundance! 95% of owners think of their pet as a member of the family. 50% admit to talking to their pet.Sources: http://stevedalepetworld.com/blog/world-pet-population-data-mixed-bag/ https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/pets-can-help-with-management-of-mental-health-conditions-1227161 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-hark/pet-ownership-health_b_3187960.html https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pets-can-help-their-humans-create-friendships-find-social-support-201505067981 https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/pets-and-mental-health https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/research-finds-pet-dogs-can-reduce-kids-anxiety-1130152 https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/12/pets-play-central-role-management-mental-health-problems/ https://slate.com/technology/2014/02/dogs-can-help-you-get-a-date-and-look-more-attractive-the-power-of-a-labrador-puppy.html https://habri.org/research/mental-health/ https://theestablishment.co/cats-are-the-unsung-heroes-of-mental-health-2a78398f9f3/index.html https://www.clinical-partners.co.uk/insights-and-news/item/5-reasons-why-having-a-pet-is-good-for-your-mental-health https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/diet/6666409/Average-dog-owner-gets-more-exercise-than-gym-goers.html https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm Brought to you by Animal Health Company

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