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How four-legged friends can help you live a better life

Did you know that dog owners spend an average of 5 more hours walking each week than non-dog owners? If you’re ready to reboot your health and wellbeing, having a pet in your life might just be the best thing for you. Here’s why:

Dogs (or cats) can ward off feelings loneliness and isolation
Amongst so many other benefits, pets are well-known to help ward off feelings of loneliness, which makes animals particularly beneficial to ageing individuals who live by themselves. A study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that dog owners feel appreciated, reliable and have a sense of obligation, care and responsibility for their pet. But enjoying the feeling of companionship isn’t the only mental health benefit to having a pet – being able to make physical daily contact with a trusting, loyal companion is extremely helpful in warding off any sense of isolation.

They can keep you active, motivated and energetic
According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, dog owners will walk an average of 2.2 hours more each week than those that don’t own a dog. For many people, a pet can be a key motivator for getting outdoors. By spending an extra few hours exercising each week, you can boost many aspects of your physical health – having an active pet can even help reduce your blood pressure.

Pets are a sure mood-booster
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or upset, a four-legged friend is proven to help you boost your mood. By spending time with an animal, your body’s levels of the “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol, while boosting levels of serotonin. In pet-friendly residential aged care facilities, directors have claimed the health and wellbeing benefits are obvious within many ageing residents. Any pet is well-attuned to understanding your tone of voice, mood and body language, and can prove to be an attentive and supportive companion.

They’ll increase your social interaction and connect you to your community
Everyone knows that any dog needs a bit of attention and exercise. By pet sitting or owning an animal, you’re more likely to get outdoors to satisfy their social and physical needs, and this can lead to a perfect opportunity to get closer to other people in your community. Pets are also a great conversation-starter in public places such as the park, pet-friendly cafe or community event.

If you’re living independently and think you could benefit from a little extra company, why not ask to temporarily care for your neighbour or friend’s pet, or even buy one for yourself? It might just be the key to boosting your health and wellbeing.

Thinking of getting support of a different kind? Mable is an online platform of over 2,300 independent support workers providing aged care and disability support. Why not search for workers in your local area and discover the possibilities?

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