Article: The Importance of Pets For Wellbeing

Having just moved house I recently spent a brief stint of time without many pets in my life, and it legitimately caused an extreme amount of distress for me.

Not everyone is an ‘animal person’ and not everyone will feel the benefits of pets, but I am definitely the kind of person who needs at least one companion animal in my life.

Call it a desire for company, a need for nurturance, or just a sheer fascination with the life around me, I don’t mind; the point is that I know that my health is legitimately affected when I don’t have an animal to care for.

I’ve since reunited with my pet dog and welcomed a new animal in to my household too (a rescue) and the difference in my mood and the way I conduct my day is absolutely staggering.

The Effects of Pets

Some people think of pets as trivial, self-indulgent, or even cruel, and while these may play a factor for some individuals, the majority of pet owners find that these motivations couldn’t be further from the truth.

In actuality, pets have a myriad of benefits for both pet and owner (depending on the pet, of course) and a pet can be a very valuable presence in some people’s lives.

If you’re curious as to how then allow me to list just a few of the ways that pets have been recorded as beneficial:

  • Playing with a pet (such as a dog or cat) has been shown to release feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, which help calm you down and make you happy. This has been shown to alleviate stress and lower blood pressure for some individuals, especially those in high-pressure jobs.
  • Certain pets increase exercise, leading to further health developments as you become fitter from the increase in physical activity. This is particularly the case when it comes to dogs, who have been shown to increase recreational walking in a beneficial manner.
  • People who own pets are less likely to suffer from depression. For those who do struggle with mental health issues pets can also be a great companion when it comes to helping counter darker periods. This is because pets demand accountability and thus prompt many people to maintain a routine, go out on walks, and generally keep themselves safe for the sake of their animal.
  • Pets also fulfill the physical human desire to feel skin-on-skin contact and offer what some psychologists have termed ‘uncomplicated love’, in that you can confide in and become attached to a pet without worrying about the same social entanglements that humans can come with. This is sometimes a much needed comfort for some individuals.
  • Some studies have even found that pets can decrease the amount of physical pain we feel during a migraine or after something such as surgery. Pets can literally heal you mentally and physically. Why more proof of their value do you need?

Pets and I

As for my own experiences, life is a lot better now that I have my pets in it (and, yes, I am one of those people whose mental health benefits from the added routine and prompts for exercise).

As a freelance writer there’s nothing more comforting than me when working alone in the house than sitting by the window, looking out at the park outside my house, and feeling my hedgehog snuggle up securely on my lap. Now, my hedgie is a demanding little lady who always likes one hand on her during cuddles, so there’s an argument to be made that my work productivity may be hindered, but ssh!

When I need a break from writing I can take my dog out, take in some fresh air and let my mind just wander. Walking has been shown to increase creativity and help us think clearly so it’s great for getting those blogging juices flowing a rebooting my mind.

And when I just need a complete chill session I get my snail, Cheese, out, place her on my hand, and simply observe her motions. Don’t ask me how but the slow movements of Cheese coupled wit her physical presence seems to calm almost any animal-lovers I know when they’re struggling with anxious or depressive thoughts. She is like a rock. She grounds people. Cheese has helped many people I love and I’m grateful for this fact.

Go Cheese.

Pets and Sexual Wellbeing

No; for once I’m not talking about Pet Play (though god knows I could).

Believe it or not the benefits of pets also translates in to people’s sexual wellbeing and relationships too (making this post at least a little bit more justified in terms of content).

Here are just a few ways that pets can actually benefit you love life:

  • Feeding in from the above, a happier, fitter, more emotionally balanced individual will generally find that they thrive more in terms of self confidence, self esteem, and their relationships with others. Thus the general benefits of pets have a knock-on effect that helps with one’s love life and sexual happiness.
  • According to one survey 46% of Brits thought that being an animal lover made someone more attractive, and a pet is a pretty clear signpost of someone’s views towards animals. Now, I’m not saying ‘buy a pet to manipulate people in to liking you’ (because ick) but this does bode well for those who are naturally more inclined towards pet ownership and a love of animals.
  • As an aside, people also automatically assumed that pet owners had more positive traits. Maybe it’s all the stress-busting chemicals and fresh air. Who knows?
  • Some studies have shown that couples who own pets tend to communicate more, spend more time together, and generally see themselves more as a cohesive family unit. This makes sense, as the mutual responsibility and joint interest that a pet fosters would invariably cause more conversations and joint activities if handled correctly.
  • According to some research cats can also make for kinkier, more sex-crazed owners. So if you’re looking to be a freak in the sheets then just owning a furry friend may help (just don’t look too much in to the reason why, otherwise you may find yourself immediately turned off for a long time).

Put Simply, A Happy Pet Equals A Happy Owner

For those who have the time, patience, money, and overall stability to own a pet, the benefits can clearly be staggering. Then again, if you’re a pet owner you probably already knew most of this information (if only through experience).

So, if you own a pet and you’ve been reaping the benefits of that relationship then good for you! I know firsthand how vital pets can be.

And for anyone who has previously scoffed at the notion of pet ownership being anything but folly: Cool story bro. Us pet owners will just be over here, socializing, improving our relationships, and having some kinky-ass sex.