I’m living proof that this is true but the people at PetMeds recently conducted a survey to confirm it.
Their Chief Veterinary Officer, Andrew Bucher, flags that the health benefits of pet ownership are not only physical, but also extend to mental health. The research shows that humans have a strong emotional connection to their pets and that they have tangible benefits to our mental and psychological wellbeing.
The survey measured responses of over 2,200 respondents, all of whom own one or more pets*. Key findings:
- 98% of dog owners agreed that their pet was a member of the family;
- 84% of dog owners felt that having a dog helps them have more positive relationships with other people;
- 64% of people feel more confident meeting new people if their dog is also present;
- 73% strongly believe their dog is good for their mental health;
- 62% of people strongly view their dog as a source of emotional support.
While there are multiple benefits of pet ownership, such as companionship and reducing stress, it has been proven that having a pet makes us live longer and animals can be useful in predicting seizures, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, and even monitoring their diabetic owners’ blood sugar levels.
Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer, said:
“Britain has long been touted as a nation of animal lovers, which was confirmed last year when we spent a record £6 billion on our pets, but these findings demonstrate how important our pets are to our physical and mental wellbeing.
“It will come as no surprise to pet owners that our animals are good for us. However, the results of this survey really do highlight the extent to which humans depend on their pets to give them confidence in their relationships with other people and in maintaining strong mental health.
“January may be cold, dark, wet and depressing, however, the love, partnership and affection we show our pets is very much a two way relationship. They bring us so many benefits and it’s important we remember to repay them by treating them well and caring for their needs just as though they were a member of the family.”
*We were sent responses from cat owners too but Stella wasn’t interested in their opinion!
It’s a given that my pet helps me feel better and IS a member of the family, what about yours?