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  • Writer's pictureDenise Christie

There is Nothing Like the Love of a Pet

There is nothing like the love of a Pet

As human beings, we are by our very nature social and tactile creatures. Touch plays an important role in our existence. Despite the fact that we live in a busy, overcrowded world – some of us go for days or even weeks without touching another human being. This can have a negative effect on our health and on our mental wellbeing. Touch triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases the body's negative reaction to stress.

This could be one of the reasons why over 39% of people in Ireland currently own a pet. Pets fulfil the basic human need to feel touch. Pet owners know that their animal offers unconditional love. Pets do not judge, they don't mind what you do for a living and they don't care what you look like. You will get the same welcome from your pet if you return from putting the bins out as you get from being away from the house for a few hours.

There are associations worldwide which have specially chosen dogs and cats registered as therapeutic companions. Every day these calm and friendly animals bring companionship to people in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices – allowing patients to stroke, hold and talk to them.

Various studies have shown that there are a myriad of ways your pet can improve your health as well as ease loneliness.

  • Pet owners are much less likely to suffer from depression because caring for a pet can increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin, thereby improving mood.

  • People with pets have been shown to have far lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Dogs need exercise, which naturally means that a dog's owner gets exercise too.

  • Pets can also be therapeutic, especially for those dealing with daily chronic pain. Owning a pet will decrease your anxiety levels. The less anxiety you have in your life, the lower your pain levels.

  • Children who grow up in a house with pets benefit in many ways – particularly with regard to their emotional development. They learn to express themselves much more effectively and the sensory experience of holding and stroking an animal can be soothing.

So pets definitely are the real deal – they are the absolute “friends with benefits”!



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