You’ve probably heard that pets come with a slew of mental health benefits but, if you haven’t given it much thought, you might not realize just how plentiful those benefits are. From connecting you to new friends and potential partners to easing symptoms of mental disorders and suicidal ideation, welcoming a puppy, kitten, or another furry friend into your life can increase your life’s abundance until it’s practically unrecognizable.
Pets can create social connections.
What better place to make friendships and romantic relationships than a dog park? If chatting with strangers makes you anxious, having a cute dog at your side can serve as an easy icebreaker. After talking to the person the first time, you’ll have an instant conversation starter the next time you’re together. You can always talk to a fellow pet lover about your love of pets. The same goes for connecting over the cute cat at the shelter or other pet at the groomer. In some cases, this might only lead to a conversation or two. In others, you just might meet a new best friend or the love of your life.
Take, for example, Cole & Sav. The fairytale love story of viral YouTube stars Cole and Savannah LaBrant (also known as Sav) has captivated millions of viewers through their romance and the lifestyle vlogs that make up their subsequent YouTube channel. Alongside their daughters, Everleigh and Posie, and son Zealand, their dog, Carl, makes frequent appearances in their videos. With a full YouTube playlist titled “OUR PUPPY, CARL!” fans get a touching look at the family through their pup, just as they would learn about Cole, Sav, or their children. Carl clearly brings the family together to one another while making viewers feel closer than ever to Everleigh, Posie, Zealand, and, of course, Cole and Savannah. Even in the virtual world, pet lovers make connections over their favorite animals.
Pets can also help those suffering from loneliness, especially when it comes to older adults. Pet therapy is often used (alongside other treatments recommended by a clinician) to treat older adults with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A service dog or emotional support animal can help patients of any age to deal with physical and mental health issues while an outside dose of furry snuggles can benefit older adults who might not be able to care for a pet of their own. By providing a connection of their own or helping you build and strengthen relationships with your fellow humans, a dog, cat, or other pet can relieve loneliness and bring social connections to your life.
Pets can keep you motivated.
Would you prefer waking up to an alarm blaring or a kitten sniffing at your face? If feeding your cat is the first item on your to-do list each day, they won’t let you forget it. There’s little chance you can stay in bed listening to your kitty meow for breakfast. From there, you know you need to scoop the litterbox. You might not feel like getting groceries for dinner tonight but, if you notice your furry pal’s kibble container needs a refill, you know there’s no choice but to pick some up. Coming up with reasons to skip the gym? Taking a walk or going for a jog with your pup can be an equally effective exercise. No matter how listless you feel, you have the ultimate motivation to get up and face the day, whatever it entails: your fur baby needs you.
Don’t want to go to work? You’ll need to get a paycheck, and you’ll need that paycheck to pick up everything your furry friends need. Even an unenjoyable job can bring you the funds you need to keep food, treats, litter, and toys on hand. In turn, your pet will provide plenty of unconditional love and lots of playtimes to brighten your day even further. In fact, your need to care for your pet could even lead to a career you enjoy more. By becoming a PawTree affiliate, you can make money by sharing your favorite direct sales pet products, from supplements and flea treatments to toys and treats. Working for PawTree, you’ll not only learn about some of the best pet products to try for your own best friend, but you’ll have a built-in excuse to meet other pet owners and introduce them to a product line that could change their and their pet’s lives. Even better, you’ll bring in more funds to grant your own cat, dog, or other animals more of those same pet products!
Whether you’re starting an animal-centric side hustle or just reminding yourself that, whatever happens, your pet needs you to be there for them, your pet can motivate you to take care of yourself. The adage of not pouring from an empty cup applies just as much to a pet bowl as a fellow human’s glass! From income and exercise to simple tasks at home, knowing your pet is depending on you is some of the best motivation you can find.
Pets can improve your mental health.
There’s a reason that many universities bring cats, dogs, or other critters to campus for stressed-out college students. It’s hard to stay stressed when you’re petting a puppy or cuddling a kitten! From suicide prevention and relieving mental disorders like depression and anxiety to simply bringing a bright spot to a stressful day, pets can make all the difference. In fact, many psychologists or other clinicians will recommend pet therapy or an animal companion of your own for this purpose—if you’re hesitant to try medication or other more formal therapies due to the stigma associated with them, a less conventional method like these can ease symptoms without traditional medical methods.
If you worry that you’re symptoms aren’t severe enough to warrant clinical treatment or bringing a new pet into your life, know you’re just as worthy of an animal’s unconditional love. Adopting a dog or taking in a stray cat can bring about mental health benefits whatever your diagnosis or lack thereof. In many cases, you might not realize how much you’re struggling until you notice the improvement. For instance, many people associate severe mental health struggles with suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. But, where passive suicidal ideation is the problem, it’s often less obvious. As opposed to the overwhelming emotions associated with the more recognizable active ideation, a fleeting instance of suicidal thoughts, as is the case in passive ideation, might seem less severe. But even passive ideation can benefit from treatments like therapy, mindfulness, and, of course, the support of a beloved pet.
Older adults might find a pet to fill the void left by an empty nest while younger adults can benefit from the pitter-patter of puppy feet greeting them after a long day. You don’t need to be facing feelings of hopelessness or recognize a suicide risk to benefit from a pet. If you want a new-and-improved high quality of life, whatever your mental state, a cat, a dog, or even a goldfish can provide just that.
Your beloved pet might not always lead to a direct sales side hustle, inspiring love story, or subsequent YouTube channel. But, without fail, your fur baby can bring a new level of love and joy to your life. If you’ve faced suicidal thoughts, mental illness, or simple loneliness, a pet can make your life a happier, more fulfilling one. Having to pick up pet care products like snacks, bedding, and toys just might convince you to get out of bed, while getting out for a walk gives you a built-in excuse to stay active. With so many benefits, you soon won’t recognize your own life once a furry friend has changed it for the better.