How pets can help our mental and physical health during challenges time

As the bad news about coronavirus continues and following the government’s latest instruction to stay at home, many of us will be feeling isolated and anxious.

However, vet charity, PDSA is highlighting that the company of our four-legged friends can help have a huge positive impact on our mental and physical health.

PDSA Vet nurse, Joanne Wright, said: “One great thing about owning a pet is that they can offer unconditional love and friendship, which is more important than ever through these challenging and uncertain times. What’s even better is that many of our animals, who may otherwise be left alone for extended periods of time, will also be able to enjoy lots of company and fuss at home.”

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 benefit of taking them for a walk and playing with them in your garden or home.

Joanne added: “Owning a pet is so rewarding, and it’s no wonder so many owners view their pets as members of the family. Pets can also be very calming when we’re going through stressful times, and they 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.

“Our pets can find sudden changes in routine unsettling, and with children off school busier households can be stressful for pets. So, be sure to allow your pet to get some peace and rest when needed and you could also build a ‘den’ where they can retreat if it all gets too much – a fun task the children can help with.

“While pet ownership can bring huge positive benefits to us, taking on a pet is a big responsibility, so it’s important to ensure we are providing for all of their needs too. If you’re thinking of taking on a pet, it’s important to consider whether now is the right time. With so many changes and much uncertainty, we wouldn’t recommend taking on a pet just at the moment. Instead, contact your local animal charity to see how you might be able to help them remotely.”

For many people, their pet is their only companion. Now more than ever, PDSA needs to help treat sick and injured pets and keep families together.