One of the most magical aspects of having a pet is the hidden health benefits they come with. Studies show that the bond between people and their pets can, not only increase fitness, but also dramatically combat anxiety and help in lowering blood pressure. It’s of no surprise then, that in today’s current climate parents are turning to their pets for support. Or that pet acquisition numbers have had a rapid incline.
It Must Be Love
When humans are in love we release the hormone oxytocin; also known as the love hormone. Neurochemical research has shown that this same hormone is also released mutually by animals and their humans when they each feel loved by the other.
Vets regularly remark on the lengths their pet parents seemingly go to provide high, quality of life to their fur family.
“Most dog breeds were developed with a specific purpose in mind, for example, sporting, working, herding and so forth. Consequently, whether your pet is a purebred or mixed breed, chances are he carries genetic traits that drive him to pursue an activity.”
We, all of us (pet and person a like) need to have a sense of purpose in order to feel happy and well.
“Being physically active means sitting down less and moving our bodies more. Many people find that physical activity helps them maintain positive mental health, either on its own, or in combination with other treatments.”
During early lockdown it was widely reported that many family pets (yes cats included), were being used as the one-walk-a-day (‘get out of jail free card’) for every human member of their household. However, regardless of breed, there are limits to the amount of activity any one animal can do. An increased, intensive family routine more than likely responsible for the sharp rise in the number of pet parents noticing discrepancies in their animal’s health.
In a recent poll held by Doctors Duncan Lascelles and John Innes for the CPD4Vets webinar on the management of Osteoarthritis post Covid-19 72% of participants had either seen cases of OA remain the same or increase within their clinics.
But, what's also being realised more and more is that a lot of cats and dogs pre-Covid may have been going undiagnosed. Being at home more has afforded a lot of us a richer, spectrum of our pet’s day. From noticing slight struggles when getting on and off the couch to changes in appetite and posture. People, no longer occupied with other activities such as work or studies are fully focussed upon their loved ones. Resulting in an increased need for veterinary guidance during a time in which clinics are hugely limited, due to enforced, government restrictions in order to combat the outbreak of the Corona Virus within the UK.
Where to Start
For many pet owners the stress of seeing their loved one(s) behave withdrawn or simply out of character can feel like an uphill battle in itself. Reducing this anxiety through quality of care is key!
A well-managed combination of these three simple factors can ultimately mean a new lease of life for many, inclusive of grey coats and their doting owners.
Movement, is vital for strong mental health. Sudden loss of mobility can dramatically reduce an individual’s quality of life.
Being ‘stuck’ indoors need not hinder this. Together with our Vetz Petz friends and our pet peers on Instagram we’ve gathered an essential collection of indoor activities and inspirational videos to help stimulate and activate our pets at home.
Stay safe, stay well, keep moving!
With thanks to Amiee & Fergus the lab for use of images.