Humans all crave relationships with other people even those who claim that they are happy living alone in most cases. The ongoing pandemic has increased overall mental health problems simply due to not having the kinds of human contact most are used to. So, what about pets and their usefulness as therapeutic agents?
A Raleigh located psychiatrist explains how pets can positively impact a person’s mental and emotional health and well-being. Pets and better mental, emotional and physical health seem to go together these days. Some pets can even be trained to become therapeutic support animals.
Pets Crave Attention & Can Be a Powerful Emotional Support Animal
Although pets are not considered part of the human race, they are a strong support animal for people who live alone or suffer from health or mental issues that make it difficult for them to socialize with others.
Seniors who have recently lost a spouse often get a surge of renewed hope when they adopt an appropriate dog or cat to keep them company. Many seniors find their new pet at their local animal shelter. Many of these animals are looking for another forever home and are already housebroken and trained in many cases.
Pets have feelings and can be a source of great joy and affection for people of every age, personality and background. Dogs especially seem to smother their human owners with unconditional love and can often sense when someone is sad or needing attention.
Could a Therapeutic Support Animal Benefit You or a Family Member?
Dog or animal trainers specialize in training animals to become a therapeutic support animal for people with physical, mental or emotional problems. These living creatures are often able to help disabled or otherwise challenged owners live a fuller life then they had when all alone.
These support animals can be trained to alert someone if their owner becomes compromised or ill. Some will even be able to perform small tasks that help a disabled person throughout their daily routines.
The use of dogs as support animals has long been customary for people that are legally blind, deaf or otherwise disabled. These specially trained dogs, and other pets, are now able to remain with their owner in certain public places, on airplanes and when using another form of transportation.
Pets Can Give Owners a Sense of Companionship & Purpose
Individuals who suffer from depression, serious anxiety, PTSD, mood disorders and other issues often do better once they get a pet. This can give people a new sense of companionship and purpose again. Pets can help ensure that their owners get outside for a brisk walk to the park or other nearby attraction. Studies show that people with pets tend to be more motivated to stay connected and take better care of themselves as a nice bonus.
Petting Your Dog or Cat Can Ease Anxiety & Bring a Sense of Happiness
Most pets are happy when their owners want to sit beside them and pet their silky coats of fur. Many studies show, petting a cat or dog can reduce anxiety for many people. Pets may also bring a boost of happiness and a sense of companionship at the same time. Taking care of a pet helps those with mental health problems keep a structured routine in their lives. To test this theory, watch a short video of baby kittens or puppies doing something funny. Most people immediately notice a sense of relief and even joy.
What if a Person Has Severe Pet Allergies or Can’t Have Pets
Many mental health experts strongly urge individuals to adopt a pet. However, some people may have serious allergies to cats or dogs. Additionally, many people rent of live somewhere that does not allow pets. These individuals may still benefit by getting to know a neighbor’s pet. Similarly, one might consider visiting a petting zoo or volunteering at their local animal shelter.
Fish Make Good Pets Too
Those with serious allergies or asthma may be able to care for fish in an aquarium. Learn more about pets and mental health or inquire about therapeutic support animals in Raleigh, NC. Read more Medpsych Integrated blogs here.