January 02, 2020 3 min read

Cat and Puppy

Have you found that you feel better after spending time with your pet? Those who have pets gladly accept them as part of the family. It can give you a purpose to keep going on hard days and help distract you from flare-ups.

However, science shows that there are facts to support how many people find their pet helping them. Fostering or adopting a pet may help you get a handle on your pain.

How Pets Help with Pain

Having and playing with a pet can help you manage your chronic pain levels. Here are a few ways that pets can help you forget about your pain.

Man with dog

Act as a Companion

Pets will love you no matter what. They don’t care how successful you are or put any limits on how they love you. As long as you are there with them, they’ll be happy when you’re around and sad when you leave.

Having a pet is a great way to combat the loneliness and isolation that tends to come from chronic pain. They are there without judgements whether it be from you staying in your sweats all week to the messy hair look you love rocking.

Touch has been seen to having an incredible healing power. One study found that dog-owners have increased levels of oxytocin, which is a hormone that helps regulate stress and increased the function of your digestive system. It also improves your pain tolerance.

couple with dog

Decreased Depression

Animal-assisted therapy is used by many mental health institutions to promote a sense of emotional well–being.

Many animals, dogs especially, have a profound sense of empathy. They know when you’re not doing well and will come to be with you to give their support. 

Two Small dogs

Distracts You from Your Pain

It’s hard to get caught up in your pain when you have a pet in your life. While they can spend many hours sleeping, they also have a lot of personality. If they’re in a playful mood, they’ll come up to you and demand you give them attention.

One of the best parts of having a pet is when they come up to you and put their snout in your face. It’s hard to focus on your negative thoughts when you have a smiling puppy or a meowing cat right next to you.

girl holding a mouse

How to Find a Pet That Works for You

If you don’t yet have a pet, you might want to consider looking for one. There are several factors to consider.

The biggest factor to take into consideration is whether you want a cat or a dog. If you don’t like cats, then getting one won’t help much with your pain.

You’ll also want to get a lower energy animal that doesn’t need as much walking as larger dogs. Small dogs are also easier to care for and will not require as much work for grooming and upkeep. You should take into consideration the amount of exercise more hyper dogs require when looking into different breeds. 

How much space do you have? Is there a yard your pet can play in? If you don’t have a lot of room room, a cat or a small dog might be the best option for you.

woman in bed with her pug

Caring for a Pet When You're in Pain

Caring for a pet is a big responsibility. If your pain prevents you from taking care of them, you can have them undergo training to make their care routine easier on you.

If you have other family members around, you can also ask them for help to take care of your furry bundle of joy.

If getting a pet of your own is too much responsibility, you can look into local pet therapy groups. Ask around and see if they can come visit you, or if you’re able to go out to them.

Animals are a great way to reduce the hold chronic pain has on your life. If you already have a pet in your home, make sure you schedule regular cuddle sessions to get a handle on your chronic pain.

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