It’s National Pet Month! A whopping 57% of the UK population are pet owners.

You might already know your pet makes you happier. Pet owners score themselves more than 20 percentage points happier than those without pets!

Let’s take a look at how your furry friends boost your wellbeing.

Reducing stress 

Pets help reduce your stress levels. They provide comfort, love, and companionship. Studies show that being with pets lowers cortisol levels. High cortisol contributes to feelings of stress.

Increasing physical activity

Walking a pet regularly helps you boost your activity level. This improves cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of obesity. Playing with pets also contributes to your daily movement.

Providing social support

Pets provide a sense of social support and companionship. This is especially important if you live alone or feel lonely.

Improving immunity and allergy prevention

Having a pet in childhood boosts a child’s overall immune system. It also reduces home-based allergies by a third. It’s believed that pets act as natural immunotherapy for babies and children. And that means a stronger immune system, and fewer missed days of nursery and school!

Boosting mood

Pets boost your mood and provide a sense of joy. Cuddle, play, or even just watch a pet, to feel better. These activities release feel-good chemicals in your brain, like serotonin and dopamine. 

Teaching children responsibility and discipline

Taking care of a pet teaches responsibility and care-giving to children. In addition, a study of teenagers with Type 1 diabetes showed that they managed their condition better when they were given responsibility for a pet.

Improving recovery from medical procedures

Studies show that receiving pet therapy in recovery from surgery led to needing less pain medication. Therapy animals are used successfully in many treatments. Including Alzheimer's, childhood hospitalisation, recovery from mental health crises, and daily support.

Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol

Having a pet is believed to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. This is especially true if you’re hypertensive or high-risk. Studies show that if you own a cat, you’re a third less likely to have a heart attack and 40% less likely to have a stroke!

But I don’t have a pet!

If you don’t have a pet, take a look at one of the pet-sharing platforms to see if anyone needs help walking or caring for their pet locally. Alternatively, why not get the benefits of volunteering, alongside the benefits of being with animals? Local shelters always welcome new volunteers.

If you need extra support in any of these areas of physical and mental wellbeing, get in touch to see how Essex Wellbeing Services can help you.

We recruit and connect volunteers to provide support for social isolation, loneliness and making long term-friendships for both parties involved. Support may be requested by the individual or referred by another individual.