The Human-Pet Bond and Improving Mental Health
In this vlog I discuss how pets help our mental health, what they bring to our lives and why I've got such a silly moustache!
I was volunteered by my work to take part in Movember which for those of you who don't know is all about growing the mustache for the month of November to raise awareness and to raise funds for male health issues. This includes prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health issues.
But what has this got to do with cats and dogs? Well it got me thinking about veterinary mental health which is a huge issue. You may not be aware that vets are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population and this is higher than any other profession.
I then saw something in the news recently discussion how pets improve our mental health and so wanted to reach out to you all to discuss this a little more, both to raise awareness of mental health issues among my human audience and also extol the benefits of pet ownership.
I think the report this week was the fact that young children who live with cats have a much lower chance of developing asthma later on in their life, and asthma is something that's affecting more and more children I believe. Other well-known things are that having pets can really lower our risk of mental health issues. I think it reduces the feeling of isolation in many cases and maybe feelings of loneliness. They provide a great stress relief. It's always great to have a welcoming face to come home to.
Having a dog is also great at getting us out, getting a walk, getting some fresh air, getting out in the great outdoors. Exercise is really beneficial, we should be doing at least 30 minutes 3 times a week of exercise that increases our heart rates and having a dog is fantastic for doing just that. They get us out of the house if it's raining, if it's cold you still have to take them for walks (or at least we should).
Our pets also play many roles from assistance dogs to dogs who sniff out drugs and explosives. Dogs on the front line. Pets who are taken into hospitals or care facilities to improve patients well-being. They are just so important.
I would love for you to share any stories you might have about what your pets bring to your lives. Please leave a comment below.
My final thought is just that if you are feeling low, lonely or depressed then reach out to someone, anyone. There is always someone willing to listen and once that first difficult step is taken, help can make such a difference.
Look after yourselves and each other.