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The major benefits of pet therapy

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Thanks to the love and companionship of our furry friends, pet ownership can hold many therapeutic benefits for older people and those living alone.

Anyone who owns a pet will understand that they’re often viewed as a fully fledged member of the family rather than simply ‘just a pet’. We create special bonds with our pets who each have their own unique character and personality, and they provide loyal and often unconditional affection.

The therapeutic, health and wellbeing benefits of having a pet are quite surprising:

Loyal companionship

As we get older, we can often end up spending more time alone. This could be down to limited socialising or perhaps family members moving around and becoming more widespread. A pet, however, can help to provide a sense of companionship – useful for combatting feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression if they should ever arise.

Pets are often very intuitive and empathetic, responding to us and our needs just as well as we may respond to them.

Physical benefits

The benefits of having a pet aren’t just mental and emotional; pet ownership can bring physical benefits too. They can help us to relax better, as sitting comfortably while stroking a cat or dog can have a calming and soothing effect, which reduces blood pressure and heart rate.

Especially in the case of dogs, regular walks are also an essential part of daily life. By taking the dog out for a walk, you can also benefit from a bit of exercise, whether it’s a short stroll or a light jog alongside your four-legged friend.

Taking responsibility

Having pets also provides us with the motivation to look after them. This, in turn, helps us to make sure we look after ourselves a bit more too. Shopping for supplies, preparing food and bathing are important elements of pet care. On top of this, fish, small birds or rodents will also need their tank or cage kept clean on a regular basis.

This sense of purpose helps to keep us occupied and focused on the task at hand, further fighting feelings of being at a loss to do anything productive.