Pet Therapy: How do pets affect our wellbeing?

We have recently welcomed a new addition to our family, our gorgeous kitten Evie.

We decided to bring Evie into the fold as companionship for Patrick and to give him some responsibility.

What we found is that Evie has settled nicely into our hearts, providing joy, fun, friendship and is incredibly therapeutic. She has already made a huge difference to our family unit.

It is well known that coming home from work to a dog wagging it’s tail enthusiastically at you lifts your spirits and makes you feel good.

 So why are pets so therapeutic? Let’s have a look at what pets can do for our mental health and wellbeing and how they do it.

The “love” hormone

How do you feel when someone gives you a big cuddle? In most cases it makes us feel a lot better and loved. This is because it releases Oxytocin, our “love” hormone.

Cuddling with an animal is no different. Having a cat on your lap or cuddling up with a dog can trigger your brain to release Oxytocin, thereby making you feel better.

Stress relief

Research has shown that spending 5 minutes with a dog can lower your levels of Cortisol, our stress hormone. That said, obviously you must like dogs otherwise there is every chance your stress levels will go up!

Some people prefer to be with their dogs rather than with their partners when they are stressed because the impact of the Cortisol release can be so strong.

Calming

Have you ever sat and watched fish, there is something very therapeutic about fish? We have fish in our house also, this has become a bit of a challenge as Evie will sit on top of the tank and try and catch them!

There is something in sitting and watching them and this can bring your blood pressure down. In the same way as sitting and petting an animal can. All in all, this can be very calming.

Evie has made a huge difference in our house. In the evening she will curl up on Richards lap and he will subconsciously stroke her.

I watch Richards face and expression lighten a little, I hear the tone of his voice change when he is talking to her. There is a bond already and they are doing wonders for each other. Trust and understanding also came quickly and theirs is is unique and comforting.

For Patrick, he has a play mate and something he can take responsibility for.

I listen to him telling Evie off for getting on the table or scratching the furniture. Patrick enjoys having someone he can give orders too in the same way as he thinks his parents give him orders. It makes him feel important and builds his confidence.

Evie has changed the way our family works and bought a sense of calm and wellness to our home. At the time of writing this she has been with us for a month. In this time, she has created so much for us that I wish we had invited her in earlier.

What they say about Pets as Therapy is proving itself true in our home.

Have you recently had a pet join your family, or perhaps one has been part of your family for a long time? We would love to hear your comments, please share your experiences below.

Leave a comment