Pets can help improve mental health
Studies have shown the health benefits of spending time with pets. A recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that pet owners had lower stress levels than non-pet owners. Pets can also help people suffering from mental illness manage their symptoms, providing them with a sense of comfort, stability, and companionship.
One of the most commonly-cited benefits of pets is how they improve mental health. In a survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners said their pet boosted their mental health. In the Journal of Psychiatric Research has shown that pets can help relieve some of the symptoms of depression. Experts found that, for some study participants with severe treatment-resistant depression, having a pet can improve their condition or at least enhance the benefits of medication. Some people who say their pets help with mental health point out reasons like comfort, companionship and a consistent schedule.
Pets bring people together
Pet owners are naturally drawn to each other. Studies show that if you have a dog, it’s easier to meet people. Places like dog parks are social gatherings where people who are just getting to know each other can talk about their pets. Dr. June McNicholas, a senior research fellow at the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick, tested this theory. She spent five days with a dog and five days without while going about her normal routine. She recorded the number of times people – friends, acquaintances, and strangers – stopped to talk to her. On the days she had the dog, more people interacted with her.
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