How Pets can Help our Mental Health

Dogs aren't called Man's Best Friend for nothing. Whether they're your cherished lapdog or a lover of chasing tennis balls in the park, your dog is a vital part of your life and a beloved part of your family. Or maybe you have a cat, and you know how much it means when they trust you for a soft, soft belly rub. Whatever your pet of choice, pets make us better, and the unconditional love they give us lifts us up when we're down, provides us comfort, and greets us at home after a long day at work with a cheerful face, gentle purr, or happy tweet, squeak, or hop.

For those living alone, pets provide a sense of companionship in what can be difficult, isolating times. Pets can help mental health just by being their loveable, furry - or feathered - selves. Talking to your pet, even when they can't answer, can be a way to get things off your chest, process the events of the day, or even just let off some stress in a healthy, productive way. And, at the end of your vent session, your sweet kitty will still purr for you, and probably won't judge you for whatever it was you messed up at work.

In a family, pets have a way of bringing people together. With a more active pet, they keep you moving, urging you to go out on a walk or play at the park. Exercise helps boost mood and supports mental health, and sometimes, taking care of another living creature can help remind you to take care of yourself, too. But, lest you worry that this mental health boost is limited to dog and cat owners only, never fear. Your feathered friends have a way of showing their affection and giving the love you share with them right back to you when you need it most.

Furred or scaled, feathered or hiding in a hard shell, pets help make our lives a little bit easier, a little bit brighter, and a little bit fuller of love.