How our pets affect our wellbeing
It’s true, Pawexpo is fundamentally a show about pet and animal wellbeing. It’s right there in the name. But, since wellbeing is the flavour of the month, and it’s a crucial part of our show, we’re turning it on its head; today, we’re talking about how pets can affect their humans’ wellbeing.
Any dog owner will know that when you have a pooch, you’re outside, come rain or shine. Dog owners, in particular, are reported to hit their daily exercise quota far more frequently just by taking their pet out for a walk, keeping both human and animal fit and healthy.
Boosting your mood
Many people who suffer with mental health conditions, like anxiety, find having a pet, particularly a dog or a cat, helps to keep them calm. Stroking an animal has been shown to provide sensory stress relief, lowering our heart rates and blood pressure levels, whilst also helping us to feel more connected to our surroundings. Pets also provide important emotional support, helping their owners to feel at ease in the present and be more mindful. Playing with a pet has also been found to boost the production of “happy hormones” like serotonin and dopamine, which make us feel calmer and relax the nervous system.
This is especially true in older people and those who live alone. Pets can provide companionship and play an important role when it comes to alleviating loneliness. Not only does caring for a pet mean that you are responsible for another living being, therefore providing purpose, most people also talk to their animals as a therapeutic way to unpack their day, judgment (and understanding) free!
Building healthy habits
Pets have a wonderful way of letting us know what they want, when they want it. They help us build routines around our days, whether it’s time for a walk, dinner or bed. This regularity means that most pet owners will have a more consistent morning routine, will be sure to get outside every day and will practice better self-care as a result of caring for their pet.
Having a pet can help to build social and relationship skills. Research has shown that children who grow up with a dog have an easier time building strong relationships in adulthood. Animals that are very responsive to their humans’ emotions, such as dogs and horses, can help children and young people develop confidence which can be translated to their relationships with family and friends.
Social isolation can also be combatted by owning a pet. Many people who suffer with social anxiety find having a pet an easy conversation topic and are therefore less likely to avoid interaction.
Join us 15th – 17th September for the official launch of Pawexpo at the NEC Birmingham. In the meantime, don’t forget to send us your stories and pictures to get involved with our #InspiredByKindness campaign!