Pets are beloved members of our family, and they deserve a day when we celebrate all that they do. But not only do our pets give us joy and purpose, having them around is known to provide mental health benefits too.
Before we celebrate National Pet Day this year, we should first learn where this holiday got its start.
What is National Pet Day?
National Pet Day falls on April 11th each year. It was founded in 2006 by animal welfare advocate and expert Colleen Paige. The goal of the holiday is to spend time with your animal companions and raise awareness of pets that are stuck in rescue centres and need to be adopted. Millions of cats and dogs are brought into rescue centres across the world each year. Unfortunately, only a handful of them find loving homes. While this national day was started in the US, it has since expanded internationally, and is being celebrated more each year on British shores.
What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Pet?
Owning a pet comes with many benefits. According to the Mental Health Foundation, many of these perks actually have positive impacts on your mental health. This National Pet Day, as you sit down with your pet, consider these benefits your loving companion provides.
Pets lead innocent and joyous lives, completely detached from the events of the rest of the world. Having them around gives us an easy way to focus on the here and now. Just by being themselves, they reassure us that everything will be okay.
There’s a sense of security we receive from routine. A pet helps you stay on a fixed routine, which will help you focus on your day and keep you on solid ground. Such routines have a whole wealth of benefits, such as increased productivity and happiness.
Especially important if you live alone, the companionship pets provide is the main reason most people keep them. They are excellent listeners and are (usually) happy to share the day with you. What more could you ask for?
Pets look after us about as much as we look after them. Keeping a pet happy is a great achievement and definitely something to be proud of. On top of that, it’s always a good feeling when your pet looks up to you with admiration.
This one mainly applies to dogs, but it isn’t necessarily exclusive. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out of the house and exercise. However, it’s much easier when you’re doing it for the benefit of your pet. A dog acts as a great reminder that you need to be walked too.
Providing Social Opportunities
Dog owners love to chat to other dog owners. So do owners of other pets. Taking your pet outside is an excellent opportunity to get outside and meet new people – which is great for our mental health. Go out and mingle this National Pet Day. Who knows who you might bump into?
What Are the UK’s Favourite Pets?
It wouldn’t be a true National Pet Day if we didn’t compare each other’s pets.
People in the UK own all sorts of interesting pets, but have you ever wondered what the most popular pets are among the average UK households?
According to Statista, 59% of people polled said that they have pets in their household. Of that 59%, 33% said that they own dogs. Unsurprisingly, this makes man’s best friend the most popular pet in the UK.
Cats were in second place at 27%, massively beating out the rest of the competition.
Birds and rabbits were tied a 2%, with hamsters just below at 1.7%.
Finding a Pet
If you don’t already have a pet, maybe now is the time to change that. There are hundreds of rescue centres across the country full of misunderstood animals who just want to be loved. You can start by looking on the RSPCA website. If you want to find a specific animal, though, you may want to look at Dogs Trust or Cats Protection.
Finding a pet can give both you and a lonely animal a new lease on life.
What If I Can’t Have a Pet?
There are unfortunately many people who can’t own a pet for one reason or another. However, there are still ways you can spend plenty of time with pets without actually needing to own them. You can, of course, spend time with your friends’ or family’s pets, but National Pet Day is all about helping animals in need. To get into the spirit of that, you could volunteer at animal charities. Maybe you could walk the dogs with friends or neighbours. Then, not only will you get the mental health benefits of animal companionship, but you will also experience the joy of volunteering.
Supporting Mental Health With a Personal Alarm
Stress and anxiety can play havoc on your mental health. This National Pet Day, if you are worried about your safety at home, consider a personal alarm from Carelink24.
A Carelink alarm can help to keep you safe at home. By simply pressing the button on your pendant, you can alert our Monitoring Team that you need help. They can then alert emergency contacts and, where possible, the emergency services.
You can find out more about our lifesaving devices by checking out our detailed guide. More information, including lifestyle advice, can be found in our news section. If you have any questions, our customer service team are available to help you out. Simply use our contact us page or call on 0800 0076 247.