For World Mental Health Day, PetStay is exploring how animals and dogs can help improve the mental health of their owners.

UK charities Barnardo’s and Mind say there has been a rise in those affected by mental health problems especially in young people, while the elderly have been battling with loneliness and isolation.  While not a cure, health professionals are seeing the benefits of animals to alleviate anxiety and stress.

Dogs are a great source of companionship, comfort and motivation for their owners, whether they realise it or not! While dog walking can help with exercise, many don’t realise the benefits a dog also brings to our mental health. Just the act of stroking a dog can help calm a person and can even lower blood pressure.

It appears that more and more people are now turning to pets because of the positive effect and contribution they can have on mental health.  Pets are non-judgmental, are generally always happy to see and spend time with us, and make us feel needed, and so it comes as no surprise that they can have an impact on our wellbeing.

Joanne, a carer for PetStay Huddersfield, Halifax & Barnsley found she didn’t have to own a pet to benefit from the love of a dog: “I first discovered Petstay in 2016 and became a home boarder after giving up my previous full-time job due to illness. It also gave me the time to take on a part-time job which works brilliantly around home boarding as I am at home all day to care for my house guests and just work 3 evenings a week”.

“What a difference a dog makes; having a dog come to stay helps with my general well-being as we have lots of fresh air and exercise and I have a companion on my daily walks. Life is better with a dog!”

Even if you are unable to take on the responsibility of a pet full time there are other options available including visiting friends with a dog, volunteering at your local animal welfare charity or pet sitting.

Look back at our previous blog post about The Mental Health Benefits of Dogs.