Guest Post: Pets and Mental Health

Hello! Welcome to another guest post, written by Wrae Sanders! She has been an absolute delight to work with and I loved reading her writing. She focuses on mental health and wellness, be sure to check out her Instagram and her blog! Also, just a disclaimer that the photos belong to neither of us and credit goes to the rightful owners. Enjoy!!!

Pets are a lot of fun- we love to cuddle and play with them. We watch them in tanks, cages and other homes. We do so much for them, but what do they do for us? 

A Home Full of Pets

I'm a pet owner- my family has two cats (Tails and Miss Purr) and two turtles (Lightning and Biggie Smalls). My kids named the animals and help with their daily care. The turtles were found around our home. The cats came to us by family and coincidence. 

My younger son has autism and ADHD. When he was younger, he had problems forming relationships with others. We decided to get a pet to help him with this, and my husband's aunt’s cat just happened to have a litter right around this time. 

Tails is his best buddy. They lay in bed together, watch tv, and Tails hangs out while he plays video games. If it's chicken night, Tails is all over it. 

Miss Purr is a rescue kitty, thanks to my husband finding her while working one day. She was all of 4 lbs when he found her with infections in both eyes but now, she's 7 lbs of love and cuddles. She got her name because she purrs constantly and loudly. We love it and her. 

Our pets are spoiled- the cats get a lot of treats and belly rubs. They have lots of food and toys and there is no shortage of places to nap or someone to nap with. 

How Our Furry Friends Help Us

When we are sad, stressed or otherwise upset, our pets can comfort us with a purr, curling up next to us or even just being there to stare at in a tank. 

Watching your pet sleep can be soothing. It helps take your mind off your troubles and center on the peace of the animal in front of you. Playing with or cuddling a pet can lower blood pressure and increase dopamine. 

Giving your favorite cat or dog pets can also be soothing. This may be why you feel better after sitting with your pet for a little while. Humans need to touch things, it helps ease loneliness and other negative emotions. 

Taking your dog for a walk is helpful for both of you. Exercise is good for emotional (and physical) well being and if you're not having a good day, a walk can be refreshing. It might make your day a lot better. Even if you walk a couple of blocks, you'll feel better and something is off your to-do list. 

Having a pet can be great for elderly people- they help them stay young. Staying playful and active is always good for those of a certain age and having a furry friend helps combat loneliness. 

Pets do require responsibility and care, as in food, attention and veterinary care if they get sick. They also may have other medical needs, like immunizations, special foods, etc. 

Please consider these things along with your living situation and abilities to care for a pet before getting one. A dog or cat is a longtime commitment. They deserve your full love and care. 


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