We live in a time where many people are turning to natural remedies when it comes to treating ailments – and everything from anxiety to allergies can be alleviated without a prescription. And while there are many ways to relieve a variety of illnesses – from eating well to exercise – recent studies have highlighted the huge and often therapeutic value of pets.
As a nation of dog-lovers – from the loud and large to the demure and dainty – it’s little wonder that more and more people are opting for pet ownership as a way to improve vigour and vitality. And whether you already have a pet, or are toying with the idea of getting one, we’ve curated seven reasons why a four legged friend may be the very best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing.
LOWER STRESS LEVELS
The power of pets is nothing new, and a number of studies further prove the wealth of benefits they’re known to bring. The growing number of pet friendly workplaces is a testament to this, with many employers adopting a ‘pets welcome’ policy in a bid to lower stress levels and improve the wellbeing of staff.
2. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Another powerful factor about pet ownership when it comes to remedying depression and anxiety is the unconditional love that dogs offer their owners. Unlike our fellow humans, four-legged friends are without judgments, opinions or critiques, and their loving – and loveable – nature is known to aid symptoms of depression.
3. THEY KEEP YOU ACTIVE
The benefits of exercise are endless, and as owner of a pet pooch in need of regular and frequent walks, it’s safe to say you’ll be upping your activity levels. Whether long and leisurely walks or a quick game of catch, you’ll be adding bursts of activity into your day for both you and your four-legged friend.
4. HELP WITH DEPRESSION
Often people suffering with anxiety or depression can lack a sense of purpose in their lives, and becoming a pet owner can add an element of responsibility, which, experts say, can help with depression. Having a pet adds a new and positive focus to its owners’ life and can remind them of their own value and importance.
5. HEALING TOUCH
Much is known about the healing power of touch, and what better way of introducing this into your daily life than through regular sessions of nuzzling your pet?
6. A WELCOME DISTRACTION
Not too dissimilar to yoga – a practice which is well known for its healing properties – pets can encourage their owners to be present by taking them out of their heads and into the present moment. Offering a loveable and furry distraction can be invaluable to anyone suffering from anxiety.
7. PROTECTION AGAINST ALLERGIES
Did you know that early exposure to dogs can protect against allergies and asthma in later life? Studies suggest that contact with dogs and, to a lesser degree, cats can help strengthen the immune system and prevent respiratory related viruses, allergies and asthma in later life.
Has your furry friend had a positive impact on your physical and mental health? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.