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Woman pets a dog

Benefits of pets to live mentally healthier lives

Whether they’re furry, scaled, feathered or have 2 legs, 4 legs, 8 legs or no legs, our pets are amazing at supporting us to live mentally healthier lives.

How can a pet help with your mental health?

  • Exercise – if your pet needs to go on walks or needs to be played with this is a great way to increase your level of physical activity. It’s also a great way to get out into the open air and see a little bit of nature.
  • Routine – caring for a pet helps you get some structure to your day which can ultimately give you a sense of focus, achievement, and purpose.
  • Socialising – having a pet is a great way to get social. Dog owners often stop and chat to each other on walks, those caring for horses meet others in the stables but you can also meet people through training classes and online interest groups (perfect if your pet doesn’t need to go outside)
  • Emotions – if you struggle with anxiety, it’s known that the companionship of a pet can help ease some of those symptoms. Our pets can also lend us a paw when it comes to boosting self-confidence. They’re great listeners, offering zero judgements and unconditional love.

Having a pet is a major commitment, you do need to make sure you have the space, time, money and energy needed to properly care for an animal. The PDSA has some helpful information on things you should consider before getting a pet.

If you don’t have the capacity for your pet, that’s ok, there are still things you can do.

Do you have any neighbours who could so with help caring for their pets such as taking their dogs for a walk? If you’re not sure, The Cinnamon Trust is always looking for volunteer dog walkers or contact your closest rescue centre, they are quite often looking for volunteers to help exercise, care for and socialise their animals. Alternatively, have a look at Borrow my Doggy where they are connecting dog owners with local dog borrowers for walks, weekends and holidays.