Pawsitive Vibes: The Mental Health Benefits of Pets

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. At APA, we believe that pets can play a crucial role in supporting mental health. In fact, a recent poll shows 86% of pet owners feel their pet improves their mental health. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Companionship: Pets provide unconditional love and companionship, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Just having a pet around can make you feel more connected and supported.
  2. Stress Relief: Interacting with pets has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, and lower blood pressure. Pets can help us relax and unwind after a long day.
  3. Physical Activity: Owning a pet, especially a dog, encourages physical activity. Whether it’s going for a walk or playing in the backyard, being active with your pet can improve your physical health and boost your mood.
  4. Social Support: Pets can be great icebreakers and help facilitate social interactions. Whether you’re walking your dog in the park or talking about your cat with a friend, pets can help you connect with others.
  5. Mindfulness and Presence: Pets live in the moment, and spending time with them can help us practice mindfulness and stay present.
  6. Mood Enhancement: Pets are known to boost our mood and make us smile. Their playful antics and affectionate nature can brighten even the darkest day.
  7. Emotional Support: Pets are intuitive and can sense when we’re feeling down or anxious. Their presence can be comforting and soothing during difficult times.

Not Able to Have a Pet? Here’s How You Can Spend Time With Shelter Pets

At APA, we offer various ways for people to spend time with shelter pets, if you are not able to adopt. Here are some options:

  1. One-Time Volunteer Opportunities: Sign up for a one-time volunteer opportunity at our shelter. You can spend time socializing with pets by taking them on a dog date or taking part in a pack walk. Volunteering can be a rewarding way to interact with animals and support our mission.
  2. Foster Care Program: Consider becoming a foster parent for a pet in need. Fostering allows you to provide a temporary home for an animal until they are ready for adoption. It’s a great way to enjoy the company of a pet without the long-term commitment.
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