After communities came together yesterday for World Mental Health Day local vets and charities have reported that pets are playing an increasingly important role in helping our mental health.
Vets have been exploring the exact benefits pets bring to their owner’s wellbeing.
Research by Vets4Pets has revealed that nearly a third (30%) of pet owners in the UK got their pet to help improve their mental wellbeing.
Dr Stacey Harrision who works for a large practice in Essex said:
“We’ve always known that pets are a great source of unconditional
love, support, comfort and companionship.
“And it appears that more and more people are now turning to pets because of the positive effect and contribution they can have on mental health.
“Pets are non-judgmental, are generally always happy to see and spend time with us, and make us feel needed, and so it comes as no surprise that they can have an impact on our wellbeing.
“Studies have found that even just stroking a pet can have a very calming effect on people, as it relaxes the body, slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
“Pets can also act as a motivation, especially dogs, by encouraging their owners to get out and about walking, which has been found to help with human depression, physical health and socialising.”
Jasmine from Wickford has experienced these types of benefits first-hand, with her ten-year-old cockapoo Lily, who she got whilst going through a hard time in her life.
“I was going through quite a tough time with some depression and anxiety, so me and my family decided to get dog, to add a bit more joy and life into the home. Lily is probably the number one factor in my life that’s boosted my happiness and mental health.
Therapy Dogs nationwide are a charity that have many volunteers that work accross Essex. They take their dogs into schools to help struggling children and into local hospitals to cheer up elderly and sick patients.
A spokesman from Therapy Dogs said: “Its a fact that spending time with a puppy or kitten reduces stress and have a great impact on our mental health thats why our pets are so popular.”