Depression – Can Pets Help Treat It?

People who are suffering from temporary or permanent depression may find solace in their pets. For centuries, some animals, mainly dogs, have been mankind’s best friends. Therefore, psychiatrists and psychologists suggest getting a pet to help relieve mental stress and reduce depression symptoms.

Whether it’s their sixth sense or the unconditional love they offer, pets can offer a great way to improve our mental well-being and avoid depression-like thoughts.

What Does Research Say?
There is significant scientific data to suggest that having a pet ensures that we remain compassionate and show empathy towards the needs of animals and, thus, have a similar outlook on life. The healing power of our pets, guarantees that people who may not have strong social support can find an easy way to keep their emotions stable.

Research findings suggest that senior adults who had pets as their companions showed minimal or no signs of depressions versus adults who lived alone. Studies also suggest that seniors with pets required minimal medical services and remain satisfied and positive through most part of their later years.

Pets gives a feeling of unconditional acceptance, affection, love and constant companionship. These emotions help develop a better sense of self and a reduction in negative emotions such as anxiety or depression.

Touching/petting your pet, taking care of its needs and interacting frequently with it also play a crucial role to boosting the oxytocin levels in the brain. According to a survey, roughly 74% of pet owners observed notable mental health improvements after acquiring a pet. Therapy animals and pets are great ways to tackle social isolation, loneliness and feelings of unworthiness.

Different Pets Have the Same Calming Effect
When looking for the best pet to help you overcome stress and depression, you can either choose a dog or a cat. Fish and birds work too since some people like to take care of a bird or a fish, depending on their lifestyle and emotional needs.

While dogs help you to stay socially active, cats are also ideal for reducing depression with their playfulness. Regardless of the animal you choose, the connection between you and your pet aids in reducing depression levels and helps allow you to live a normal life.

Owning a dog helps you interact with other dog owners. You also get a reason to step out of the house when you take your dog for a walk. This lets you be socially active and less withdrawn. The more you connect to the outside world, the less depressed you feel.

Moreover, petting your pet has the same calming effect as listening to soothing music or indulging in aromatherapy. Most people report that the softness of their cat’s fur results in a sudden drop of depression levels and has a dramatic effect on calming down the nerves.

All these emotions lead to better mental health and also help regulate good blood pressure levels and a well-maintained heart rate. Not only can you experience happiness in the presence of pets, you can also feel accountable and responsible which will help make your life feel more fulfilling.