Kingsway Veterinary Group in Skipton, the only accredited veterinary hospital in the area, supports National Pet Month, which aims to highlight the importance of responsible pet ownership this April by sharing the bountiful benefits pets can bring.
Caring for pets of all types requires time, understanding and tender loving care but there are also many perks to owning a pet; their presence in your home can provide positive, emotional and social benefits and can have a profound impact on your physical and mental state.
A pet is a source of constant companionship. They help to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. They don’t judge or answer back, their love and gratitude is unconditional and pet owners can be truly themselves in their company. Dogs will empathise with their master’s mood; who isn’t cheered a little by those big doe eyes longingly looking at you with love when you’re feeling sad?
Pets can also do funny things, making you laugh with their individual, quirky personalities. They can distract you from the stresses and strains of the day, make you smile despite your mood and regularly provide first-class entertainment. Animal therapy has been used for decades in nursing homes after studies revealed the positive effects pets had on the elderly, including distracting them from pain and discomfort.
All types of animals can provide owners with a real sense of purpose and help forge strong bonds amongst families, who collectively share in an animal’s care. Even squabbling siblings often forget their rivalry when it comes to their pets they are united.
If you are a pestered parent, worn down by the daily demands for a dog, take into consideration that pet ownership encourages responsibility in children and is an opportunity for them to learn valuable life lessons. They begin to understand what it means to be nurturing and caring, the importance of healthy food, of exercise and how to cope with illness and loss; a pet can equip children with the experience to cope with many of life’s ups and downs that they will undoubtedly face. Children will also learn lessons through their own teaching; it can be easier to learn self-discipline if you are trying to teach better behaviour to your unruly pet.
It is proven that pets can have real benefits on our physical health from lowering children’s likelihood to develop allergies, and increasing their immune systems to reducing the risk of heart attacks in adults. Dog owners report that regular daily walks lead to an increase in exercise and a decrease in weight – so some pets could be considered the equivalent of having your very own personal trainer! Come rain or shine responsible owners take their dogs for a walk as sitting on the couch isn’t an option with a dog pining for the outdoors.
Sometimes in life we can feel quite isolated, everyone else seems busy with their heads down and yet a pet can be a great way to forge introductions with complete strangers, or even neighbours. Fellow dog owners love to stop and chat, sharing dog ‘tails.’
Animals can also have a huge impact socially by helping us to learn about communication and behaviour. Dogs are excellent at reading our body language and over time can help some owners improve their own non-verbal skills, allowing them an opportunity to develop better relationships with others.
If National Pet Month has made you ponder the possibility of becoming a pet owner, why not consider rehoming and adopting an animal from a rescue centre. At Kingsway the practice doors are always open for you to speak to one of their team for tips and advice to help you learn how to care for your pet, as you enhance each other’s lives.