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animal assisted therapy Mental Health Pets

Ways That Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

Ways That Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

Sometimes we think that owning a pet is a great way to add to our family or that we are doing our pet a service by saving them from an uncertain future. These alone are great reasons to own a pet; however, there are even more reasons to join the ranks of pet ownership.

Pets can benefit you in so many ways:

* Mentally
* Emotionally
* Physically
* Socially

While these are all important ways a pet can benefit you, improving mental health is high on the list. There are several individuals who benefit mentally from owning a pet. Of these, the elderly are worth a special mention. For many elders, living alone and feeling isolated are just a part of what they are experiencing during this stage of their lives.

Depression, Anxiety, and Panic

We all know that feeling isolated can lead to many other ailments. Of course, deterioration of the physical body is one of the downfalls of not getting out and socializing. However, mental deterioration in the form of panic, anxiety attacks, and depression can set in for an elder who is isolated. Those feelings are alleviated with the company of a pet.

Having a pet can improve the mental status of an elder in many ways.

A Feeling of Vitality

An elder who owns a pet is more likely to have feelings of wellbeing, peace, and a sense of vitality. A feeling that there is someone who needs caring for and tended to can make a huge difference, especially one who may have just recently lost a spouse they were caring for at home.

When an elder loses a spouse, sometimes they lose their sense of purpose along with them. Owning a pet is a wonderful way to get that sense of purpose back into their lives.

Socialization

Feeling isolated is one of the worst things an elder can experience; however, owning a pet can alleviate that sense of isolation. There are still some groomers who come to the home to groom pets and this gives the opportunity for the elder to have someone to share socialization.

Walking a dog also offers the opportunity to get out and about for an elder who is capable of doing so. Sometimes hiring a young teen in the area to come, walk the dog, and visit with the elder is a win/win situation all the way around. The teen may pick up some community service work and a few dollars as well.

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improve your health pet

Top Five Ways a Pet Can Improve Your Health

Top Five Ways a Pet Can Improve Your Health

If you have ever owned a domesticated animal and sadly experienced the loss of that pet, you can relate to how close a domesticated animal can become to you. When someone says that a domesticated animal is part of his or her family, this is true.

A domesticated animal brings so much to our lives and the lives of our family, yet we can sometimes overlook just how much.

While a domesticated animal brings unconditional love to us, there are many other real and tangible benefits along the way as well.

There are many ways a pet can improve your health

There are mental benefits, physical benefits, social benefits, and emotional benefits.

1. Improve Mental Health

Studies are proving more and more that domesticated animals improve our mental health status. Many years ago, pets were brought into the psychiatric wards to help calm patients, as well as encourage patients to cooperate. Today, we know that pets can improve our moods drastically.

Have you ever felt down and out and had your pet bring you his ball to play? This is a perfect example of how a domesticated animal can cause an automatic shift in your mood and get you out of a slump. Unconditional love offered by a domesticated animal can also cause positive chemicals to release to the brain, thereby averting negative stressor chemicals (such as cortisol) found in the flight or fight syndrome. When positive occurrences are experienced, mental health improves greatly.

2. Improve Emotional Status

Pets greatly improve the emotional status of their owners. Have you ever owned a domesticated animal, let’s say a dog for example, and the dog automatically came over to you when you were crying and licked away your tears? Studies show that dogs are innately responsive to the emotions of their owners and are therefore readily available to respond to them. Pet-owners are shown to be happier in studies than individuals who do not own pets.

3. Assist with Physical Health

Research is showing that pet-owners are healthier than non-pet owners. Pet-owners have a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Pets, especially dogs, are also able to assist and alert owners that have certain medical conditions such as diabetes or seizure disorder.

4. Help with Socialization and Fitness

A domesticated animal can aid in the defense of depression, anxiety, and panic. Having an animal to socialize with is an excellent way to get out and about for many individuals. Socialization for your domesticated animal is vital to its wellbeing and that means that you have to go along for the ride. Walking, jogging, running, hiking, are all excellent ways to keep in shape just as swimming and bicycling is. There are many pet owners who socialize with their pets in this way, enabling the pet owners to stay fit and trim along with their furry friends.

5. Spiritual Benefits

There is no better way to become more spiritual than when you reach out to help another. Reaching out to help another does not necessarily mean just to your human counterparts. Reaching out to your pet and playing, bathing, walking, caring, and just cuddling with them is an excellent way to become more spiritual. When you take care of a pet that is helpless and unable to help themselves, what more spiritual act is there than that?

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animal assisted therapy

The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy and Pet Facilitated Therapy

The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy and Pet Facilitated Therapy

Animals used for therapy is certainly not a new idea. For years, it was thought that animals offered therapeutic, emotional, psychological, and physical benefits to a patient. Today, we know that these animals are useful in all these ways and many more.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal assisted therapy is a program wherein the presence of an animal is part of the whole process of treatment. An individual trained in health care will often oversee the whole process.

Emotional Benefits

Studies have shown that owning a pet simply makes us feel good. Having a reciprocal relationship of unconditional love with our pet feels even better. Studies conducted have shown that interaction with a pet has a definite positive impact on an individual’s emotional state of mind.

Studies have also demonstrated that stress, anxiety, panic, fear, and loneliness are all alleviated or lessened in individuals who own pets. Individuals who engage with a pet show better moods, a more positive outlook, and an inspired attitude as compared with those who do not own pets. An increase in self-esteem is also shown as one of the studied benefits of interaction with a pet.

It has also been shown that cognitive development, social skills, and a reduction in aggression are some of the many more benefits achieved through animal interaction. Overcoming shyness is another benefit of having a pet in the life of an individual. Research shows that shy individuals tend to become more outgoing when a pet is involved.

Physical Benefits

The physical benefits of animal assisted therapy and pet-facilitated therapy are numerous. For one thing, research and studies show that animal-assisted therapy or pet-facilitated therapy help patients to lower their blood pressure. Lower pressure, of course, can equate to a healthier heart. Another benefit is having lower cholesterol. Heart rate and cholesterol are positively impacted because the presence of a pet reduces stress and anxiety in a patient.

Some patients benefit from a doctor’s visit simply by having a pet in the room to alleviate stress. A small amount of time spent with a friendly dog is enough to lower the fight or flight chemical, including cortisol. When an individual is relaxed, stress hormones do not kick in and this can help a patient get well.

Therapists have used animal assisted therapy and pet-facilitated therapy to bring an uncooperative, withdrawn patient out in the open and create a space of trust and confidence.

These therapies are useful in areas where physically, emotionally, physiologically, and socially challenged individuals are concerned.

Animal assisted therapy and pet-facilitated therapy are used in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, adult homes, and in many other facilities with much success.

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diabetic alert dog

The Benefits of a Diabetic Alert Dog

The Benefits of a Diabetic Alert Dog

Owning a pet, especially a dog, can bring numerous benefits. Research shows that dog owners reap the benefits of caring for their furry friend in many ways:

* A healthier heart
* Lower cholesterol
* Minimized depression
* Increased social activities

While these benefits are all wonderful, the benefits of owning a diabetic dog are all that and more.

Diabetic Alert Dog

Medical Benefits

Diabetic dogs function differently than other dogs. Diabetic dogs are trained to utilize their sense of smell. These dogs have the ability to detect the fluctuation of change in blood sugar of their owners.

Owners with diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 gain a tremendous benefit from owning a diabetic alert dog in that the dogs are trained to alert their masters of this shift.

While the pet owner’s blood sugar levels can peak and valley, the pet is alert to those changes. These peaks and valleys can wreak havoc on a diabetic’s organs. Being a diabetic means that you have to monitor your blood sugar consistently throughout the day. Having a diabetic alert dog means you have a constant companion right by your side, actually advocating for your health.

Diabetic alert dogs are trained by scent to recognize the chemical changes that occur in a diabetic. Chemical changes occur in a diabetic prior to becoming hypoglycemic.

Although being diabetic requires a lot of maintenance, having a diabetic dog makes the in-between maintenance moments go more smoothly. While a diabetic may do all that it takes to keep up with their daily regimen, there are moments in between that daily regimen that may put him or her into the danger zone.

Psychological Benefits

Can you imagine having an illness and also feeling that you are alone? When you are diabetic, much of the responsibility falls on your own shoulders. Sometimes the burden of having to constantly check and monitor your blood sugar can be overwhelming.

Having a pet who offers you unconditional love along with medical support is a two-fold blessing. Diabetic alert dogs provide constant companionship by lying in bed next to you and walking alongside you throughout your day.

Many individuals can benefit from the medical and psychological, as well as the emotional benefits of a diabetic alert dog.

* College students
* Young children
* The elderly
* Persons who live alone

The beauty in owning a diabetic dog is that the dog can alert its owner before the onset of a diabetic incident. That is priceless.

Having a pet that loves you and protects your health also offers an emotional benefit. We all know that when we are ill and we are emotionally supported, chances are we will manage, maintain, and heal in other areas as well.

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pet Pets social benefits

Social Benefits of Children Owning Pets

Social Benefits of Children Owning Pets

Pets are a great addition to your home. They offer many social benefits to kids. Whether you have one child or more than one, a pet can increase your quality of life.

What is it about domesticated animals that make them so valuable? You see them in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. People seem to improve health when domesticated animals are around.

Pets

Children can also profit from living with a pet. Physically, they can improve their health by walking their dog and spending time playing outside. There are also socialization skills that can be learned from exposure to a pet.

So, what are the benefits to children? Here are a few reasons to own a pet.

* Conversation starter – It can be awkward making new friends. With a pet, there is something with which to ease into a conversation. Kids can break the ice by talking about your child’s new pet.

* A way to meet new people – People with pets are more likely to talk to each other. If you pass with a dog in the park, you will say hello and might even stop for a few words about your animals as they sniff each other out. This is a good social experience for kids of all ages.

* Offer companionship – For families with one child, having no siblings can hinder some social interaction. Having a pet offers companionship to your child. They have someone to confide in and talk to. Pets are quite sensitive to the attitudes and needs of their owners.

* Understand various forms of communication – Since animals can’t talk, it is up to the owners to learn to communicate with them. This can increase their understanding of non-verbal communication between people which can help them in all types of social situations.

* Gain self-confidence – Caring for something other than themselves can increase their belief in their own abilities. Self-confident kids are more productive in school and in social situations. Domesticated animals give unconditional love which bolsters a kid’s esteem.

* Reduce stress – Stress is not just an adult condition. Children experience stress as well. Owning a pet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. During test-taking time or social problems, a pet can ease any discomfort.

* Sounding board – When you need to talk, your pet will be right there. They exhibit unconditional love to their owners, reinforcing that they care. And, domesticated animals don’t talk so they won’t reveal any secrets.

* Learning to play – Domesticated animals, especially dogs, have a real need for exercise. Kids can run, laugh, tumble and cuddle with their pet. Even if they are an only child, they can learn how to share and take turns by spending time with their pet.

Pets can help your child to socialize better from an earlier age.

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