Pets and Wellbeing
First of all, adopting a pet is a big decision. Whether you are a cat person or dog person, they are another mouth you must feed, dedicate time to and take care of. Yet, animals especially cats and dogs look after their people too. Furthermore, research has found pet owners to be healthier than their non-owner counterparts.
One study published in Anthrozoös, shows that people who sleep next to their dog feel more secure, comforted and rested, compared to their partner.
So if better sleep is not enough of a reason to adopt a pet into your home, here are four more:
Reduce Loneliness and Depression
Like people, animals are a social resource and therefore they are part of your social support. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology puplished a paper found that pet owners:
• had greater self-esteem,
• tended to be less lonely,
• felt more of a sense of belonging, and finally
• coped better with rejection.
With a long-term medical condition like Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), you might be at home even more than usual. This can be lonely, and as a result, can contribute to depression. To your pet, you are pretty much their whole world. The little cuties want nothing more than to hang out with you all day and all they ask is that you return their affection.
Sense of belonging and wellbeing
For some people, socialising can be difficult. Maybe your HS flare-ups make moving around difficult or you’re self-conscious. Or perhaps you’re just introverted. Whatever the reason, animals only know they love you. They love you because you’re you (and yes because you feed them too.)
Certainly, your pet can motivate you to get up and move around or cuddle on the sofa. Many people say they feel more comfortable around animals than people. Probably because animals ask very little of us but provide us with so much.
Exercise and Getting Back to Nature
One of the dog’s basic needs is exercise. What a coincidence, exercise is one of your needs too. For a variety of reasons, most people don’t get enough exercise. Navigating work, health, and finding something you enjoy can be hard. Gym memberships can be expensive. Your dog will always want to go for a walk.
Dogs love nature. They love walking in grass and playing. They even take the time to stop and smell the flowers. They encourage us to get outside in the fresh air, look at trees and plants and appreciate all the things around us.
Pets can Make Us More Conscientious
When we are conscientious, our actions are deliberate, reliable and responsible. Conscientiousness motivates us to do a good job of whatever project we have undertaken. It can lead to good health and wellbeing, as well as success in work and love. Our furry friends can bring out in us the personality traits that allow us to better our own lives. Has anyone seen the badges online that read “be the person your dog thinks you are?”
Well, it’s all true!
No doubt adopting a pet is a huge responsibility, but it is not without its benefits. According to the American Psychological Association, “thinking about one’s pet is as beneficial as thinking about friends.” Most people would say that their dog is a part of the family. Can you ever have too many people whom you love and love you in return?
Shannon Sweeney is a psychology and sociology student from Ireland. She is also living with HS and has a keen interest in lifestyle, wellbeing, and Hidradenitis Suppurativa.