In celebration of National Pet Appreciation Week 2022 (1–7 June), I collaborated with our friends at PETstock on a national media campaign to remind Aussie pet owners how our furry, scaly and feathery friends make our lives that much better. Here’s why we love our pets so much:
Pets support our mental health
Almost any pet can improve our mental wellbeing. While watching fish in an aquarium can reduce stress, pets such as dogs and cats provide companionship and this in turn, can reduce our feelings of loneliness, anxiety or depression.
Pets can make us laugh and smile with their puppy dog eyes, crazy playtime antics and lovable gestures, allowing us to set our worries aside even if it’s just for a moment.
Pets keep us moving
Pets, especially dogs, help us to fit healthy daily exercise into our busy schedules whether that be on a hike or run, swim at the beach or playing fetch at the dog park. They’re essentially our greatest motivators and personal trainers who never want to miss out on a workout!
Regular exercise with your pet will deepen the connection between you, eliminate many behaviour problems in dogs and keep you both happy, fit and healthy.
Pets provide unconditional love
Pets can be great listeners, offer unconditional love, unwavering affection and won’t criticise you. According to PETstock’s Pet Parent Survey 2022, the emotional connection shared between a pet owner and their dog is strong, with 96% believing that their dog will mend a broken heart.
The report also reveals that six in every 10 pet parents allow their pet to sleep either in or on their beds with them, further highlighting the strong bond that we share with our pets.
Help you to socialise and meet new people
Pets can be a great social bridge for their owners, helping them to start and maintain new friendships and in some cases, romantic relationships. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks, hikes, or in a dog park and pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, online groups, clubs and training classes.
Owning a pet can also assist in the dating game, with 56% of cat owners agreeing that they’d match with people who featured dogs or cats on their profile.
Provide structure and purpose
Our pets also provide structure to our days. Having to feed, exercise and care for a pet can help you keep to a daily routine and feel more grounded and focused.
Whether you’re a pet parent to a bird, snake or cat, you’re never alone and you’re also responsible for looking after them.
How to spoil your pet in Pet Appreciation Week 2022.
- Cook for your pets – From bark-uterie boards to healthy pup-cakes, try creating a balanced and healthy homemade meal for your pet.
- Grooming – Untrimmed dogs, cats and rabbits with an extra-thick coat require regular brushing. Keep your pet’s coat in top condition by brushing daily to remove tangles, dirt and dead hair, to increase skin circulation and distribute oil.
- Playtime – Treat your pet to new enrichment toys such as Kong’s or food puzzles. This will keep your dog, cat or rabbit busy for hours and offer a sense of comfort while you’re out for the day.
- Exercise – Most dogs love exploring new and interesting places with their best friend. Vary your daily walks as new routes provide exposure to exciting smells and different stimulation.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love (Your Dog).