Pets are good for your mental health
Pets evoke a range of emotions, both good and bad:
We find great joy in our pets when they are healthy and happy. Throwing balls, flying frisbees, and offering them catnip toys or branches to play with. Plus, it’s fun!
Who doesn’t love a great game of indoor hide-and-seek with their dog or cat? When we teach them tricks or have them play find-it games it creates positive feelings for everyone!
Quiet physical contact offers a great way to connect with your pet. If you work from home, a little cuddling after a tough virtual meeting can improve your mood. Or if you work on-site, the excitement of a wagging tail or purring head buts can put a smile on your face when you walk through the door.
Caring pet people often fear that they aren’t doing enough. Do you ever say, “I meant to walk my dog for half an hour today, but we only made it around the block?” Do you feel like you are failing them?
Answer: you’re not.
You might think “I love my pet, so why don’t they behave the way I want them to? Why do I come home to pee on the bed or torn pillows when I do so much for them? Why do I feel guilty when they are the ones that lunge at other dogs when I just want a quiet walk in the park?”
Answer: you’re allowed to have your feelings.
You’re not alone – and neither is your pet
1. Shelter pet returns have increased after the pandemicThings have changed over the past three years, and many folks don’t feel they have the time or emotional bandwidth to keep their pet. In many cases, new pet owners haven’t understood the commitment to having a pet lasts for the lifetime of the pet.
There are many strategies for dogs and cats we can use to help both pets and their owners feel better about being a pet family
2. How do I manage pet time with me time?Be respectful of yourself while appreciating your dog or cat’s needs. A chihuahua will need less outdoor exercise than an Australian Shepherd. Schedule feeding, exercise, and quiet time for a week at a time.
Consider games your pet can play by themselves (battery-operated floppy fish for cats, puzzle toys for dogs). Congratulate yourself on your little successes. A happy ten-minute walk today is ten minutes after you and your dog got outside, sniffed the grass, and enjoyed each other’s company. Well done!
3. Most pets are okay while you go to workMost pets are okay while you’re at work. Dogs tend to settle and snooze for longer periods when you’re away. If we asked your cat, they’d probably say they’re glad to get some time alone! They were missing their afternoon sunbeam naps!
4. Take time for yourself. Doctor’s ordersMy dog, Romi, has had some anxiety about being outdoors in wide-open spaces. This is tough when we live in the middle of canola and wheat fields. I give myself permission to go for a couple of long walks every week - for my peace of mind. Our together time is more relaxed, and I am better able to give her what she needs.
Happy cat and dog owners make happy cats and dogs!
We all do our best, and our pets love us for everything we give them. If you have concerns about your ability to care for your pet, please see your veterinary team for advice on how to make their lives the best you can offer.
Veterinarians and their staff are your best resource for advice on litter box problems, feeding schedules, separation distress, and exercise plans for your cat or dog.
Petsecure offers coverage for behaviour and illness problems in cats and dogs. Learn what’s covered by Petsecure and get a free quote today!