The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership


The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

They’re fuzzy and snuggly. They’ll listen to you complain about all your problems. They’re happy to see you in the morning and when you come home. Our pets love us unconditionally (well, cats might have a few conditions), and they make us feel good inside. It’s no secret that having pets improves the quality of our lives, but pet ownership has actually been scientifically shown to improve our mental health, too.

How Being a Pet Owner Improves Your Mental Health

In a survey cited by the ADAA, 74% of respondents reported experiencing improved mental health after adopting a pet. It’s really no surprise that pet owners report feeling less stressed, anxious, and depressed because playing with a dog or cat releases endorphins like serotonin and dopamine – the chemicals directly responsible for calm and happy feelings.
Oxytocin, another happy neurochemical, creates feelings of satisfaction and helps develop bonds in human relationships. It turns out, oxytocin also helps develop canine-human relationships. When humans and dogs gaze into each other’s eyes, both species release oxytocin.
In addition, people who own pets – especially dog owners – tend to live more active lifestyles than people who are enduring life without a pet. Walking Fido three times a day not only releases more endorphins through exercise but staying active also improves your general physical health, helping you feel better from your body to your brain. Having pets around also reduces physiological responses associated with stress like high blood pressure and elevated heart rate.
The feel-good benefits of pet ownership aren’t just limited to furry friends; fishy friends also impart relaxing health benefits. Simply watching a finned friend (or a whole school of friends) swim around an aquarium will lower your pulse and reduce muscle tension.

Return the Favor with Exceptional Veterinary Care in Mobile

Having a pet can clearly do wonders for your state of being, but having a sick pet is another story. When our pets fall ill, it takes a toll on our mental health. That’s why, at Wesson Animal Clinic, we put an emphasis on wellness and preventative veterinary care for cats and dogs – to keep them happy and healthy for life while also giving you peace of mind!
Healthy adult dogs and cats should visit the veterinarian at least once per year for a checkup, physical examination, parasite control, and vaccine boosters. Senior pets, kittens, puppies, and pets with chronic medical conditions should visit more frequently. To schedule an appointment for peace of mind, your pet’s next wellness exam, contact Wesson Animal Clinic today.

How to Protect Your Pets from the Heat This Summer

How to Protect Your Pets from the Heat This Summer

Summer’s a fun season to be a pet owner because there are so many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors together. While you play, these tips will keep your pets safe from the heat.

Top 7 Summer Safety Tips for Pets

1. Assess the Temperature

Remember that temperature isn’t the only factor affecting the heat your pet experiences; humidity plays a big part, too. Check the forecast before going out with your pets or leaving them unattended outdoors.

2. Avoid Sunburn

Some pets have thick coats that are actually designed to keep them cool. Before trimming your dog’s fur, ask our veterinarian what an appropriate length of cut is for your pet (usually no shorter than about 2-inches) or whether your dog’s coat should be trimmed at all. Dogs with double coats do best with regular brushings to encourage the natural shedding process instead of haircuts.

3. Never Leave a Pet in the Car

The temperature inside a car – even with the windows down – will become dangerously hot in minutes. If your pet can’t come inside, leave them home with the A.C. on.

4. Provide Shade and Water

To regulate body temperature, pets need plenty of water to keep them hydrated and a cool, shady spot to rest.

5. Exercise Safely

Limit exercise on hot days and during the hottest times of the day. Pets will overheat easily when the sun is directly overhead. It’s best to go out for walks in the early morning or late evening. Also, be mindful of the hot pavement, as it can easily burn your pet’s tender paws.

6. Enjoy a Cool Treat

Ice cubes in a water bowl or frozen banana and peanut butter pops are a tasty way to cool down.

7. Recognize the Signs of Heatstroke

Heatstroke can lead to organ damage and even death if left unaddressed. Heavy panting, loss of balance, confusion, glazed eyes, excessive drooling, extreme thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea are all signs of heatstroke.

Be Prepared to Act Fast with Emergency Pet Care

If your pet begins showing signs of heatstroke, take action to cool them down right away. Move them to a shady location, put their paws in cool water, and encourage them to drink. It usually is not a good idea to douse an overheated animal with ice-cold water, as this can cause shock.
No pet owner expects an emergency, but they do happen. Keep the phone number for Wesson Animal Clinic’s emergency service available at all times and contact us immediately if your pet has symptoms of heatstroke.