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PETS AND OUR HEALTH – HOW PETS CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH & WELLBEING…

The Joy of Pets is an article written on a life insurance website which I felt all my readers would really enjoy reading.

Walking a dog, playing with a cat, stroking a rabbit or watching fish swimming – all pets bring us joy. But did you know that animal companionship can also benefit our health and wellbeing? It’s actually good for us to spend time around animals of all shapes and sizes.

There’s no motivation quite like someone you love needing you to step up to the challenge! Dogs need walking every day, which means you need to walk as well. When the weather is wet and cold, most of us would prefer to sit in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a good programme on TV. It’s all too easy not to bother, but those puppy dog eyes and waggy tails won’t let you off the hook – just what you need to kick start a healthy lifestyle!

We have always had a pet and when we lost our second dog a few years ago I felt completely lost. We have since moved and feel we would rather look after our families pets instead of us getting another one. It’s great fun as we can go out and away without the worry but enjoy the comfort of a pet when we want.

They say that cats and dogs are the most popular pets by some way. But whether you have a furry, feather or scaled friend in your home, it’s likely they make you feel better.

The article points out that more than anything, our pets become our friends. They comfort us when we’re feeling our worst and make us laugh with joy in our happiest moments. Not only do they boost our mood and improve our health, an incredible bond is formed between pets and their families.

The Guardian writes that Pet ownership should be recognised as a public health strategy due to the profound benefits for individuals, families and communities, says Steven Feldman.

Pets can buffer stress and help address social isolation. GP’s are increasingly supporting pets for mental health conditions. Research demonstrates that pet owners have lower blood pressure, are more likely to achieve the recommended levels of daily exercise and are less likely to be obese.

It’s not just adults who can benefit from pets – they are really good for children’s physical and mental health, too. Owning pets is great for teaching children responsibility; they get the reward of seeing their pets happy and healthy and learn to consider others ahead of themselves.

Source: Comparethemarket The Guardian PDSA Habri

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LET YOUR PET HELP PEOPLE IN PAIN…

As I’m sure most of us pet owners know, a pet can be a great comfort to you at the best of times. The picture below is of my lovely toy poodle who lived until the ripe old age of 15 but we lost her a few years ago. I still miss her today.

Various studies have now shown some remarkable health benefits of owning an animal. It’s what they call the ‘wonderful, wide-ranging biochemical and physiological effects pets can have on those suffering from chronic pain and fibromyalgia’.

Smaller dogs in particular have been of benefit to fibro sufferers who cannot get our much. Through their unconditional love, dogs can encourage you to be a little more active, feel more secure, and help your mood.

Pet therapy is used in some hospitals and care homes; just the simple act of petting a dog can have a calming effect on people and have a knock on effect with lowering stress levels and anxiety.

Pets as Therapy is a national therapy founded in 1983, which provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, care homes and special needs schools.

If you have a dog who is good with people then they can become part of a PAT Team, they must have been with their owner for at least 6 months, be over 9 months of age and be able to pass the temperament assessment. All pets must be fully vaccinated. 

Unfortunately, they cannot support you if you wish to have your dog at the workplace with you as they do not have the assessment process or the insurance to cover this. If you would like to become a volunteer with your dog and would be able to visit within their guidelines then check out the Pet As Therapy website.

There’s a lovely article on The Power of Pets on a site called Holisitic On Line  which is well worth reading.