Getting a pet is a big responsibility, and something one shouldn’t take lightly. I played with the idea of getting a dog for some time but always put it off. During the last year I found myself going from travelling a lot for work, to working from home and restricted to local walks. My children are of the age that they don’t need my full attention 24 x 7 which gave me more time on my hands. I decided to get a rescue dog to add to our family, to go for walks and motivate me to become more active. It was the best thing I ever did as rain, sleet or snow I am out for a walk every day in our local park.  I feel a difference both mentally and physically and would not swap Millie our dog for the world. I always feel better when I have been for a walk even if it’s for 30 minutes. I thought I would share some of the other benefits you will find by caring for a pet.

Here are just some of the benefits you will find by caring for a pet

Increasing exercise

Taking a dog for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements—and exercising every day is great for the animal as well. It will deepen the connection between you, eradicate most behavior problems in dogs, and keep your pet fit and healthy.

Providing companionship

Companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to your life, while isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression. Caring for a live animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most dog and cat owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles. And nothing beats loneliness like coming home to a wagging tail or purring cat.

Helping you meet new people

Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners, helping you start and maintain new friendships. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks, hikes, or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.

Reducing anxiety

The companionship of an animal can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. Because pets tend to live in the moment—they don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow—they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present.

Adding structure and routine to your day

Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps an animal balanced and calm—and it can work for you, too. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—one plaintive look from your pet and you’ll have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for them.

Providing sensory stress relief

Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. Stroking a dog, cat, or other animal can lower blood pressure and help you quickly feel calmer and less stressed.

If you have any other tips you would like to share or cute photos of you with your dog send to me we would love to see them.

(I will include pictures of Millie and Me and encourage others to share their best photos of their dogs)