Day 13 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge
I have several pets. I am a rabbit mom and there is something about birds that makes me so happy, so I am also a bird mom. I own both budgies and diamond doves. So I am a lover of animals, but did you know that having a pet can improve your mental health? You’ve probably heard about it, but today I’m going to share the why’s and how’s with you.
How Pets are Beneficial to Your Health
Having a pet can increase your opportunities for exercise. If you have a dog, most breeds need a walk. You can also bring your dog to a park and run around with them. It’s great bonding time, great exercise and a ton of fun. Being out in nature is known to help with anxiety and depression and you might meet other pet owners and have a chance to chat and socialize. And these days, cat owners can build outdoor playgrounds for their cats that are safe and enjoy time of outdoors with felines as well.
Just being around an animal, whether it’s a cat or dog or even fishing swimming, is calming. It lowers your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and serotonin, a feel good hormone rises. Petting your cat, dog, or rabbit or caring for any animal helps with depression as well as it’s a positive way to spend time and takes you out of yourself and troubles as you focus on the animal and it’s care.
Because pets provide companionship, they help with reducing illness. This can actually add years to your life. Plus, who isn’t happy to come home to a pet who is happy to see you?
Amazingly, pets can help you become more mindful. This is because pets live in the moment. They are not worried about what happened, and don’t worry about tomorrow either. Observing this (even subconsciously) helps us humans bring our own attention more to the present moment as well.
Pets can provide us with routine. Routine is important, anyone who provides any kind of child care can tell you that. As adults, we can acquire habits that make our lives less routine oriented and that can detract from our overall mental health. However, having to get up to feed and care for your pet will make your day more structured, especially if your pet needs a walk, or some other sort of socialization.
If you’re providing pet care, you’re going to understand the importance of self care. Self care is about remembering to take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Your pet takes a break to chew a toy, run around and wrestle with a toy. Your pet is having fun when it is doing this. It’s engaging in healthy, engaging behaviours and we should too. Observing this reminds us to take time to paint or knit, as well as to remember to take care of our bodies.
My Experience with Being a Pet Mom
It may sound kind of cutesy to say I’m a pet mom, but in reality, caring for a pet is like caring for a child. I adore each of my pets, and each has a special place in my heart. When I first got my budgie Aloha, I was worried about her because I was pretty certain her previous home had been neglectful. It took her a long time to realize her cage was not merely one perch, and even longer to come out of her cage and fly around.
Caring for the pets provides me with a sense of purpose. I have to refresh the water, check the that they have food (I use automatic feeders for my birds), clean their habitats, and provide mental stimulation in the form of toys. And, just buying toys for kids is fun, buying toys for your pets is too. I love doing all of this for my pets. They need me, and I love that they are apart of my life. They help me when I’m sad, they make me laugh and amaze me every day when I sit and watch them or engage in play with them.
And like a mom, I’m always trying to find ways to make their lives better. I’m always thinking about what healthier food I can provide, or new toy that will engage their interest. I re-arrange habitats, and make upgrades. And I’m saving money for vet visits–although I acknowledge most parents save money for university.
I wouldn’t trade my pets for anything. They are apart of my family. It upsets me when some members of my family scoff at them, or dismiss my love for them.
Are Pets For Everyone?
I’d say pets are great for people who love animals. If you simply aren’t an animal person, then you shouldn’t get a pet. A pet will not improve your quality of life if you don’t provide it with a great quality of life. Aloha can’t have been a very interesting or interactive pet in her previous home if she was kept in a tiny cage with no mental stimulation. Not being allowed to act naturally causes an animal to become depressed and act out of character, and even become aggressive. Essentially, you’d simply be keeping an animal in a cage rather than having a companion.
If you are considering getting a pet, you must be aware of the cost to your pocketbook and time. Pets require proper habitat setups, food and exercise as well as vet care from time to time. You must also be savvy and research the pet you are getting because there is a lot of misinformation out there, especially in regards to habitat sizes and diet. Chain pet stores don’t often don’t have the proper habitats for animals and the employees are not required to research and be knowledgeable in pet care.
If you love animals, and have the time and money to invest in a pet, then a pet is a wonderful addition to any family. But in the same way that children are demanding of your time and attention, so are pets. And like children, they can cost a lot of money to care for. You must be aware of this and ready to commit to any animal you welcome into your home.
The benefits are immense in my opinion, and the greatest benefit a pet can bring you is unconditional love.
Does your pet help your mental health? Share in the comments below!
Having pets is definitely great for mental health! I have 2 dogs, and while one of them drives me crazy because he barks too much (He’s still a puppy and we are working on the barking thing) my husky is the sweetest thing ever. She likes to sit with me and cuddle and just having her there is really calming.
PS: that last bunny picture is too cute!
Yes, pets are the best! All they really want is love. Give them some attention and they are the happiest best people you’ll meet.
My cats have definitely helped with my mental health – you’re absolutely right about pets living in the moment and by routines. Just being around them is so calming, the act of stroking them is a complete de-stress. And you can’t beat a snuggle on a cold winter’s night. That picture of your cat is just gorgeous, what a cutie! Lisa
I wish that was my cat! I had a cat once, but he’s gone now. The rabbit is definitely mine though 😀
Pets are marvelous, aren’t they? I love being a cat-mom, and my kitty is my pride and joy. She’s a 7-year-old chubby tabby cat named Luna (after Luna Lovegood) and she’s totally sassy, but she’s my best friend! She’s been with me through the literal worst times of my life, and right there by my side through the best as well! I’m grateful for how she always keeps me company – in fact, she’s sitting behind me in my office as I work right now… as she always does!
Awww, I adore cats. If my hubby to be weren’t allergic…however, I have a rabbit and I’ve learned they are just as smart as cats and dogs. They just need the proper care for you to notice. So glad you have your kitty to love and support you.
Great post,Giulia. We have a dog (and before that we had cats) and I think it makes a huge difference to your life. I’m constantly amazed at how happy our dog seems to be all the time – and that happiness is infectious! Can’t imagine life now without one.
Agreed! I would not trade my bunny or birds for the world!
I love animals, although the only pets in our house right now are my daughter’s tropical fish. I walk outside a lot.. maybe I should get a little dog.
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Dogs are great!
Pet are really helpful in many ways and can make your life more enjoyable and relax. I love having pets.
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Caring a rabbit is quite tougher than caring other pets. They need special rabbit bunny supplies. You shared good thoughts related to pet bunnies care. I also love rabbits and while searching tips for bunny care, I got your blog. Really great information you have published. Keep up sharing your thoughts.
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Oh thank you! I love bunnies, so I’m glad this helped.
It definitely helps me exercise everday!
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Yes, they can help us with that too!
As someone who has had pets all my life, I can attest to the joy and companionship they bring. My dogs have always been a source of unconditional love and have provided a sense of purpose and routine in my daily life. Not to mention, caring for a pet can also be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.
One thing I would like to add is the impact that pets can have on social connections and loneliness. Not only do pets provide companionship, but they can also be a great ice breaker and conversation starter with others. I’ve made many new friends while out walking my dogs or at the dog park.
Overall, I think the mental health benefits of pet ownership are undeniable and I highly recommend getting a furry friend if you’re able!”
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