5 Reasons Why Pets Help Mental Health Sufferers

Most pet owners realise that pets are good for us but perhaps we are unaware as to the extent of the help they offer. Here are 5 reasons why pets help mental health sufferers…


5 Reasons Why Pets Help Mental Health Sufferers


According to a recent review by the Australian Mental Health Service around 45% of Australians will suffer some form of mental health issues in their lives.  Mental health is a real concern but especially for those that are alone.  The most common trigger for mental health issues (whereby long or short term) is social; with sufferers often experiencing long periods of isolation, social rejection and stigma.

However pet ownership has shown to help improve the lives of those suffering from what can be a depilating illness.

PetSafe® Brand Australia this month partnered with Dr Leigh Plummer, a Sydney based Clinical Psychologist to further explore how of pet ownership can help to improve the lifestyle of those suffering mental health issues. They have come up with the top five reasons why pet ownership can help to improve the lives of those suffering mental health conditions:

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  1. Increase physical activity

Being a pet owner can lead to more engaging and physical activity.

‘Whether you are being more active with a pet in the home, or getting out and about, having a pet can increase your level of exercise which in term has been shown to improve mood, decrease stress, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and enhance physical fitness’, states Dr. Plummer.

5 Reasons Why Pets Help Mental Health Sufferers


  1. Increase social interaction and remove isolation anxiety

Pet ownership can help to boost social interactions and lower isolation issues.

‘Having a pet can absolutely increase your social interactions be it through social media or face to face’ says Dr. Plummer, ‘incidental conversations with strangers about your pets can take place on a walk, at the dog park or even on a Facebook Community Pet Group’.


  1. Provide companionship and reduce loneliness in the home

Pets provide 24/7 companionship which helps to increase mood and reduce loneliness for people that live alone.

‘The unconditional love that a pet can give you is often a relief to those that have difficulty interaction with others or have low self-esteem’, says Dr. Plummer


5 Reasons Why Pets Help Mental Health Sufferers


  1. Boosts mood by providing routine and purpose

Owning a pet provides a person with daily routines, which in turn can boost mood and help stop feeling sad.

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‘It’s not only what our pets do for us, it is also the act of caring for a pet that helps us to feel good’, says Dr. Plummer, ‘giving and caring for others can feel productive and be rewarding. We may also feel useful and needed. Caring for a pet may also temporarily take the focus off ourselves, our worries and negative thoughts’.


  1. Reduces fear and anxiety

Pets are great listeners, cuddles and companions. They can provide those who suffer from fears, anxiety or depression comfort and unconditional support and love with no judgement. While some pets might be better than others for people to own Dr. Plummer concludes that it is completely up to the individual and their needs.

‘I don’t think that there are any pets ‘better’ then others to own, it is all up to the individual and what suits your needs.  What are you hoping to get out of caring for the pet and how will it fit into {or improve} your current lifestyle situation.  I think every animal has its own individual personality, which makes caring for a pet all the more rewarding!’

Has your pet helped you? 


5 Reasons Why Pets Help Mental Health Sufferers

*Additional health advice:

 While there may be many benefits to caring for a pet, it is important to seek professional advice and support for a mental illness. If you think that you may be experiencing any mental health concerns, talk with your doctor and consider engaging in treatment with a mental health professional. 

PetSafe® Brand Australia

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