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‘Pets Are Like That, I Guess, They Know How To Fix You Without Saying A Word’

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How Pets Benefit Wellbeing                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

It’s National Pet Month! A time to celebrate and share the benefits of animal companions. As well as providing us with entertainment and cuddles, animals are essential in improving physical and mental health, supporting wellbeing and enriching communities. Canine companions even trigger neural pathways similar to the parent and baby bond which can reduce mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and loneliness.  Here are some specific ways that pets can benefit wellbeing:

Pets and Depression

  • Interacting with animals has been shown to promote the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin – mood elevating hormones that help to combat stress, low mood and depression
  • Keeping a dog happy and healthy requires daily walks! Exercise is great for both humans and animals alike, releasing endorphins in the body that reduce the perception of pain and trigger positivity
  • The routine of caring for a pet gives individuals who struggle with motivation the incentive to carry out everyday tasks, creating a sense of achievement and in turn reducing feelings of depression

Pets and Loneliness

  • Taking a dog for a walk provides the opportunity for social interaction with others in the community, reducing loneliness and isolation as well as creating a chance to meet likeminded people.
  • Pet ownership contributes to a stronger sense of identity and purpose for those who feel disconnected from the world around them

Pets and Anxiety

  • As well as combating depression, the mood elevating hormones that are released through interacting with animals also reduce anxiety and panic.
  • The necessity of feeding, walking and caring for animals gives owners the courage to complete tasks, leave the house and fulfil a routine, which otherwise may be challenging

Pets and ADHD

  • Individuals with ADHD often find that playing with, and comforting animals releases excess energy, helping to minimise hyperactivity and distraction. In addition, fulfilling animals needs such as exercise and food, helps with forming routines and taking up responsibilities.

Pets and Autism Spectrum Condition

  • Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to support people with ASC to engage with their environment and form social bonds, whilst keeping them safe from harm and reducing sensory overload.

Pets and children and adults with additional needs

  • Dogs are highly intelligent and intuitive, able to assist humans and even save lives. Specially trained dogs can be used to detect allergens, diabetic attacks and seizures, guide those with auditory, visual or mobility issues, and provide aid to individuals with psychiatric conditions and learning difficulties
  • Interacting with any animal, big or small, helps people to feel supported and worthy

Pets and everyone!

  • Animals don’t discriminate or judge, they provide us with unconditional love

No wonder there is a whole month of the year dedicated to the benefit of animal companions! This is why it is so important to look after our pets responsibly, making sure we have the space, time and dedication to care for each animal appropriately.

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  • Individually tailored academic and mental health support

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    Some days I’ve been feeling down, but after my session I leave feeling infinitely better because it’s an outlet for whatever’s on my mind and my mentor’s warmth and enthusiasm is really uplifting.

    Cansu T, Zoology Student

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  • With the help of my mentor I have done things I didn't think I'd be able to

    like present a poster at a conference, and now, I am a PhD student and the happiest I’ve ever been.

    Oliver B , Phd Student

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  • When I first came to university, I was extremely anxious having never been away from home

    My mentor has been instrumental in helping me deal with various concerns by talking through them and coming up with strategies to help manage them.

    Vincent S , Phd Student, Robotics

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  • I feel more in control

    With time I let myself slowly face the situations that used to paralyze me. I am now back at work and have reconnected with my friends. I started with meeting out in the open to now being able to have a drink in a bar. I feel happy and back in control.

    Mark R , Tewkesbury

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