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How Do Pets Reduce Stress?

7th November 22

Pets are so much more than an animal that resides in your home. They are cherished companions that give so much more than they receive. From a loyal friend to unwavering love and constant affection, we are incredibly lucky to be able to share our lives with these adoring creatures.

Many people are already familiar with the joy that can come from being a pet owner, or the company of animals on a regular basis. Though, what many don’t realise is that human-animal interactions can have a powerful impact on a human's state of well-being.

Awareness events like Stress Awareness Week and those opening up the conversation around mental health inspire the need to delve further into how pets reduce stress, shedding light on just how beneficial it can be to share your life with an animal.

Pets Give Us A Purpose

For many people who are suffering from stress or mental health issues, getting out of bed in the morning can seem like an overwhelming task. Having a pet gives us a purpose, we need to feed them, bathe them, and even get them outside for their daily doses of exercise. Most of these things your pet will no doubt remind you about!

Having a sense of purpose helps give people the boost they need to get up and seize the day. Studies have shown that this is essential for people to develop a healthy routine and find balance in their lives. Research also suggests that those with a strong sense of purpose manage stress better than those who don’t, adopt healthier behaviours, make healthier lifestyle choices, and have lower instances of depression.

For instance, dog owners are far more inclined to get active and outdoors as their dog requires walking every day. They can also make great exercise buddies on hikes and other outdoor activities, but any animal will help you develop a routine that encourages you to structure your day.

They Provide Us With Companionship

hand stroking cat

Besides unrivalled love and affection, animal companions provide us with loyalty, security, and a constant comforting presence in our homes. In terms of how people live, another way pets reduce stress is by removing, or at least reducing, the many concerns people have when living alone.

Having pets at home can be a great deterrent for burglars and generally relieve the anxiety people experience when they are by themselves. Aside from pets de-stressing humans, the companionship they provide is also an excellent way to combat loneliness.

Coming home each day to someone who’s always happy to see you can enrich our lives greatly. When researching how people cope after losing a loved one, studies also show having a pet at home helps ease the pain of their loss.

Whether you’re in a single-person household or not, the companionship pets provide is something truly special.

Animals Improve Mental Health

man working cuddling cat

It’s been proven that owning and caring for pets reduces anxiety and stress. Whether it’s a rewarding feeling from caring for their pets or relaxing and unwinding while you sit with them and stroke them, pets ensure you feel needed and comforted! 

When researching pet ownership and stress, a Cats Protection survey discovered 87% of cat owners felt their cat had a positive impact on their wellbeing, and 76% felt they were coping with everyday life better because of the company of their cats.

While these are great findings for the cat enthusiasts among us, any animal from dogs to horses, rabbits and even guinea pigs is shown to improve mental health.

They Support Us Through Therapy and Assistance

Our pets aren’t just a therapeutic presence in the home, animals are stress relievers in a professional sense too! Animal Therapy or Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) is a form of therapy that uses animals to enhance human wellbeing.

During AAI therapy sessions, the people undergoing therapy treatment will sit in the presence of the animals, stroking and petting them, and simply spend time with them. The effects of this human-animal interaction have been astounding, with patients experiencing improved social, emotional, and cognitive functioning, and independence, in the wake of these sessions.

This type of animal therapy effectively helps children, adolescents, adults and older people with mental health needs, and those with physical or learning disabilities, improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.

The animal's wellbeing is of top priority at all times, and many animals can provide this type of emotional support to humans. Dogs and cats are most common, but a vast range of other species work as therapy animals too.

Being such a successful form of treatment, Animal Assisted Intervention now commonly takes place in all kinds of environments, from hospitals to nursing homes, hospices, special needs schools, and prisons.

Work With Therapy Animals

woman working cuddling dog

If you’re passionate about the positive impact animals have on humans, and the thought of AAI therapy interests you, our Level 3 Diploma in Animal Assisted Intervention will help you to work or volunteer in this fascinating area of therapy.

This online course explores Intervention Therapy in animal and human care, and how these animal treatments work. It also takes you through a host of interesting and employment-critical modules, covering everything from the history and science behind Animal Assisted Intervention, to client and animal matching, and positive, force-free animal training methods.

If this appeals to you, you can discuss the course in more detail today by calling our team on 01202 006 464 or speaking to them online. Alternatively, you can view the course information on our website.

You can also keep track of all animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.

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