Extensive research confirms the positive therapeutic effects a pet and pet parent relationship can have, says Carla Bath, marketing manager for Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
“One of the main reasons for this? Pets fulfill our basic human need for touch,” said Bath.
“Stroking, hugging, and loving your pet can calm and soothe you when you’re stressed or anxious. Both are feelings we’ve all become accustomed to over the last couple of months.”
Caring for a pet gives you a wonderful purpose; this is especially important for the elderly – even more isolated now due to the risk the pandemic can have on their health – those living alone and children.
“For the elderly, feeding, pampering, brushing, exercising, and playing with a pet will get them up and moving, ultimately boosting both their physical and emotional well-being. Research has shown that for those who live alone, pet parenthood decreases risk of mortality by 33 percent. This is because of the way pets make us feel; happy, loved and content,” she added.
Lockdown has been tough on everyone and make no mistake our children are battling as much, if not more, than us. Not only do pets teach them responsibility, altruism, and compassion, they have also been known to boost immune systems, especially if children have been exposed to them since infancy.
“Unlike parents, pets are never critical and don’t give orders. They are always loving, and their mere presence can help provide children with a sense of security. Having an ever-present pet will also be able to help ease separation anxiety in younger children when parents eventually go back to work. Plus, having the love and companionship of a pet can make a child feel important and help them develop a positive self-image,” added Bath.
Our pets have shown us that there is still joy to be found. “Our pets are usually the most entertaining in the family. Their antics and little quirks often have us in stiches.
“The laughter, in turn, releases those feel-good endorphins we’re all craving. Caring for our pets by providing them with the best possible nourishment through food, giving them that extra snuggle before bedtime, grooming them, playing and exercising with them means you’ll both reap the rewards of this very special bond,” concluded Bath.