Pets and Human Mental Health – Wemy

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a person to persistently feel sad and lose interest in happenings around and commonly associated with symptoms such as anxiety, fearfulness, hopelessness, unworthiness, anger, insomnia, tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss, physical pains and in extreme cases suicide. We all pass through these undesired moments when we think we are not loved or our whole world is crumbling in our faces. But the good news is, there is hope for every hopeless situation, there are solutions to problems, there are great heights and dreams that can be achieved if we stay positive and perceive everything around us as working together for our good. This is good for maintaining a good mind’s health.

If you are going through low moments or depression, the wonderful update is that it is curable, even the most severe forms can be managed well. Depression has been shown to be effectively treated by medication, psychotherapy with a mental health care professional or a combination of the two therapies. Beyond therapy, it’s official that your four-legged family member (pets) can help manage fluctuations in your mood. This is quite exciting. Your pets serve as a cradle of comfort, companionship, commitment and unconditional love, and can help you break the cycle of loneliness and worthlessness. Your pets never judge you but assist to ease you of worry and anxiety. They help keep your body and mind balanced. So your pets can boost your mental wellness.
Here are tips by this wonderful author Danielle Hark on “how your pet can improve your mental health”

  • Your pet gets you outside, in fact out of your shell and helps you engage with nature and people. They make you conscious of your environment and help you feel the calmness and sweetness nature offers.
  • Pets connect people. Your pet can help build your social network e.g. walking a dog often leads to conversations with other dog owners and this helps you stay socially connected and less of an introvert.
  • Pets help you exercise. Exercise is one key tool for boosting a good mental health. Walking or playing with your dog promotes better circulation, lowers blood pressure, and prevents heart diseases making you physically fit and self-confident.
  • Pets lessen stress. Connecting to your pets releases oxytocin which is a hormone that relaxes your mind and reduces anxiety.
  • They keep you company. Pets are great, committed and compassionate companions. Often a pet is very intuitive and will seek you out when you’re feeling down, refusing to allow you to remain alone, and giving a sense of security. A dog or cat provides long-term commitment and always there in good and bad times.
  • They are great listeners. Whenever you find yourself isolated from the world, or feel nobody cares to listen to whatever shortcoming you are passing through, your pets are the greatest listeners. You can talk to them about anything, your feelings or hope, aspirations and dreams, giving you a sense of worth and positive vibes
  • They love you unconditionally. Seeing that pet enthusiastic, wagging her tail, hanging her tongue and smiling to you after a bad day at work instantly boost your mood. You can feel the love in the air, which completely makes you alive. She doesn’t care if you just messed up a deal at work, or bombed a test, she loves you for being you, whatever that means on any given day. She’s just happy to see you. She wants to be around you, to love you, and be loved by you. So awesome.
Oluwawemimo Adebowale is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Ogun State Nigeria. Email address

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