Pets are an integral part of the British nation. Most of us have had at least one pet in our lifetime – whether it was a family dog or tiny hamster. In fact, more than 3 million pets were bought in lockdown, according to The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA). They found that people under 35 accounted for over half of new pet owners during lockdown. 56% of those buying a pet for the first time had children at home as well.
Pets can help children to learn about empathy and caring for another individual. Children and dogs can form beautiful relationships that flourish as they get older. More than a third of pet owners said having a pet is a lot like having another baby. Training a new pet can be time-consuming and challenging at times. It’s important to train your dog as soon as possible so that they can develop healthy habits over time. For example, you can teach them not to go to the toilet in the house or chew your favourite pair of shoes.
The PFMA said a staggering 74% of people found their pet helped their mental health during the pandemic. There are over 17 million pet-owning homes in the UK – from iguanas and guinea pigs to dogs.
Here are a few ways your dog can improve your mental health.
They offer unconditional love.
No matter what you are going through, your dog is always there to offer love and acceptance. It can be difficult to talk to a person about your feelings and emotions during low mental health periods. However, you can chat to your dog about anything you want, and they won’t judge or talk back. It doesn’t matter how sad or lonely you are – a dog will always love you.
They distract us
Dogs encourage every member of the family to focus on something else. You have a responsibility to keep your dog fed, watered, and walked every day. If you are doing those things for the dog every day, you are more likely to take care of yourself as well. You can’t lie in bed all day not eating or hydrating because you have a dog to look after.
Cuddles are good for you.
In the pandemic, many of us were isolated without any physical contact. Our bodies produce oxytocin when we hug each other, and this hormone can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. A snuggle with your dog can release all the happy hormones and make you feel infinitely better.
Take care of your pet, and they will take care of you too.
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