How pets can help beat the January winter blues

As the post-festive excitement wears off, the cold weather and short, dark days can leave us feeling glum.

Monday 20 January is known as ‘Blue Monday’, which is believed to be the most depressing day of the year. However, amidst the darkness, there is light as pets can benefit our mental health and physical health, as many who own them will attest.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “One great thing about owning a pet is that they offer unconditional love. From the knowledge you’ll have a friendly greeting when you get home to helping you get out and enjoy a nice walk in the fresh air, or break the ice when meeting other people, there are many benefits of pet ownership.”

PDSA research shows that pets can be a positive influence on our lives. According to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, 84% of owners said that having a pet had a positive impact on their mental health.

Looking after pets can help to add structure to people’s lives, with regular feeding and exercise to add to the day’s task list. As well as the physical benefits of taking them for walks, dog owners can also enjoy the social benefits such as the greater opportunity to meet new people and fellow dog owners.

Nina added: “Owning a pet is so rewarding, it’s no wonder so many owners visit their pets as members of the family. Caring for our pets can provide focus and purpose, which can be particularly important for vulnerable and lonely people. Responsible pet ownership can be a huge benefit in helping us lead happier, healthy lives.

“While pet ownership can bring huge positive benefits to us, taking on a pet is a big responsibility, so it’s important to work out whether you are able to properly care for your pet and ensure they are happy and healthy throughout their lives.”

If you’re thinking of taking on a new pet, you can visit PDSA’s Get PetWise quiz to see what your desired pet needs to be happy and healthy: www.pdsa.org.uk/getpetwise