4 Benefits That Pets Bring To The Mental Health Of Human Beings

Companion animals have a positive impact on people through motivational assisted therapies, the emotional support they offer, the acceleration of patient recovery processes, and socialization and empathy.

Currently, 1 in 8 people in the world suffers from a mental health problem, which can impact their physical health and well-being, as well as their environment. Due to the growth worrying levels of cases of people without support for their mental health, it is being achieved that spaces such as the media, social networks, and public opinion offer the importance that this issue deserves, especially to prevent and accompany these episodes to children and adolescents.

Also, as multiple researches have advanced, we can find interacting and living with animals has multiple benefits for mental health. In this sense, since 2015, Purina, a leading brand in the pet sector, began research to collect evidence related to the impact generated by the human-animal bond, as well as studies on animal-assisted therapies.

This is why Purina, within the framework of World Mental Health Day, commemorated every October 10, tells four benefits of having a pet and how they positively impact people’s mental health, through assisted therapies.

Motivational: they are linked to the improvement of feelings such as self-esteem and self-confidence, especially in children and adolescents who may feel sad, depressed, or show some aggression as a result of insecurities that can be worked on thanks to puppy therapies that include interaction with dogs.

Emotional support: with great impact on older people who live alone, and/or those who suffer from episodes or disorders of depression. This section highlights the work that therapy dogs provide to these people, through company, raising their mood and promoting exercise. That is, dogs help that person “force themselves” to go out, acquire responsibilities, and routines, and “have to perform certain tasks” to take care of the animal. This therapy contributes to improving autonomy, physical activity, and mood improvement.

Therapeutic: the presence of therapy dogs contributes to the acceleration of patient recovery processes. Accompanied by intervention technicians and health professionals responsible for medical cases, dogs help to overcome fear, improve anxiety, reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and any other stressful situation linked to physical condition or psychic of people.

Socialization and empathy: Animals in general and dogs in particular, are great social facilitators due to their ability to interact with other dogs and people. For people with difficulty relating, animal therapies can help them build relationships, and achieve a higher level of empathy, attachment, and sociocognitive growth.

Accordingly, results of the scientific study confirm the effectiveness of dog-assisted therapies on the mental health of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (autism, behavioral or anxiety spectrum disorders).

According to the researchers results of the therapies with dogs are very positive and an improvement in attendance was observed, the children were calmer, it was easier to work on objectives with them, crises and agitations decreased significantly, and “the presence of the dogs in the hospital facilitated the self-control and social functioning of the children.”

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