Pet Power: How a strong bond with your pet can be good for your well-being

A new poll reinforces that a strong connection with a pet really is good for our wellbeing. Source: Getty Images.

From Queen Elizabeth II’s faithful corgis to Charles Darwin’s tortoise called Harriet, throughout history we’ve seen the strong connection between pets and their owners and how this bond can have a deeply rewarding impact on our wellbeing.

New poll results published jointly by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Healthy Minds Monthly Poll and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have solidified our understanding that, whether it’s the purr of a cat or the excited wag of a dog’s tail, a strong connection between humans and their animal companions profoundly impacts our emotional and physical wellbeing. 

The poll conducted between the two organisations aimed to better understand how pets play a role in the mental well-being of their owners. Morning Consult conducted the poll which took place from February 6 to 9 amongst 2200 American adults.

Key results showed that two-thirds of pet owners surveyed said that their animals offer companionship (65 per cent), are a true friend (65 per cent) and provide unconditional love and support (64 per cent).

The poll further showed that more than 80 per cent of cat and dog owners were more likely to say their pet had positively impacted their mental health than those with other types of companion animals (55 per cent).

APA President Petros Levounis said, “It’s easy to overlook the role of pets when we’re talking about mental health.”

“But for people who do enjoy the company of animals, they can be a source of companionship, comfort, love, and friendship,” Levounis added.

“I routinely encourage adoption of a pet to my patients who struggle with addiction to alcohol, drugs, or technology.

“We’re also starting to see more and more research around the role that animals can play in recovery from depression and other psychiatric disorders.”

Weighing in on the poll results, AVMA President Rena Carlson added, “As veterinarians, we witness firsthand the powerful bond between people and their animals, and the positive impact pets can have on their emotional well-being.”

“From offering companionship and unconditional love to reducing stress and anxiety, pets can be invaluable sources of comfort and support.

“These survey results further reinforce the importance of responsible pet ownership and the critical role pets play in our lives.”

Further to their revelations about companionship, 62 per cent of respondents said their pets provided a calming presence, 62 per cent said they reduced stress and anxiety, and 35 per cent said they encouraged them to be physically active.

Furthermore, 29 per cent said they added structure to their schedule while 19% said pets increased social connections with others.

Alternatively, 76 per cent were concerned about their ageing pet passing away, further reinforcing the deep connections they have with their animal.

While owning a pet can contribute significantly to our personal wellbeing, it’s also important to consider ways to ensure our furry friends feel calm, secure, and content.

A Brisbane-based dog breeder recently revealed her invaluable tips and tricks for ensuring your pet is comfortable and happy in your home.

  • Cooling mats in summer – This is especially good for bigger breeds which have thick fur coats.
  • Calming round bed – Good for the winter months, help your pooch feel warm and secure as they snuggle into this comfy bed.
  • Thundershirt do calming and anxiety jacket – This is extremely good if your dog is affected by thunderstorms or fireworks.
  • Enrichment activities – Puzzle toys that end in a treat are a great way to keep your animal entertained especially if you have to pop out to do some errands.

Whether inside or outside, spending time playing with your precious pet is also a surefire way to nurture your special bond. 




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