Pets are good for our mental health
This year National Pet Month – April 1 – May 6 celebrates its 30th anniversary and our theme focuses on the value of pets to our mental health.
Statistics show that owners are healthier and make less visits to the doctor than their pet free neighbours.
In Germany, for example, pet owners have been shown to make 15% fewer visits to their GP, saving 5.9 billion euros per annum. And indications are that similar results are in evidence in the UK.
Pets are proved to help reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress. Just stroking a pet or watching fish swim in an aquarium also leads to reduced blood pressure and lower anxiety.
From now until May 6 National Pet Month will focus on the huge mental health benefits associated with owning a pet and will continue to promote responsible pet ownership with its Top 10 Tips advice as its core message in 2019.
Pet fans across the UK are urged to help NPM celebrate its 30th birthday by attending or organising fun and educational pet care events in aid of a UK pet charity. To find out how you can get involved check out www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk
National Pet Month’s Chairman Michael Bellingham says: “Pets are so good for our wellbeing and mental health so this year’s theme, in our 30th year, is an important one to get everyone talking about.
“Pets break down barriers and help us to interact with each other. As a result, they can greatly improve our mental health, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
He adds: “As we get older pets can still be a wonderful asset for us with pets in care homes bringing so much joy and companionship. Even placing an aquarium in a care home can bring massive benefits, improving behaviour and helping to make people more interested in food and inclined to eat.”
In the last 30 years National Pet Month has encouraged, hundreds, if not thousands, of UK pet fans to organise or attend a variety of fun fundraising events – from sponsored dog walks, afternoon tea parties and bake sales to open days, pet themed lessons, exhibitions and pet friendly church services.
Thanks to NPM’s dedication to promoting responsible pet ownership, veterinary surgeries and pet shops around the UK continue to stage open days and educational events. Here they share information like NPM’s Top 10 Tips, getting people of all ages and backgrounds involved. These tips have appeared across social media, classrooms, vet practices, businesses and charities around Britain as pet owners follow these basic, but important, healthcare tips.
NPM’s Top 10 Tips For Responsible Ownership are:
1. Think carefully before getting a pet and learn about its special requirements.
2. Ensure your pet is sociable and well trained.
3. Provide a nutritious and well balanced diet.
4. Provide suitable housing and bedding.
5. Clean up after your pet and worm it regularly.
6. Protect against disease. Your vet can provide you with advice.
7. Prevent unwanted litters and neuter your pet when appropriate.
8. Groom your pet regularly.
9. Control your pet and ensure it is properly identified.
10. Take out pet insurance for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses to cover against unexpected veterinary fees and third party liability.
Michael adds: “Thirty years old and National Pet Month is still working hard to encourage us all to look after our pets responsibly. It’s a tremendous achievement.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our 30th then to see pet lovers having fun and raising money, whether that’s for NPM or another worthy pet charity. There are so many organisations who work to improve pet welfare and as an umbrella charity we are here to highlight and support their vital work as well as our own. So, please wish NPM a ‘Happy Birthday’ but also speak to a pet rescue or charity who may need your help. Then share your success stories with us on social media. Let’s work together to ensure our pets live happy and healthy lives.”
Here’s how you can help:
1. Register as an NPM supporter at http://www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/_members/ It’s free and only takes a minute.
2. Check out www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk and the supporter toolkit which you can access after registering. This includes everything you need to put on a fabulous fundraising event – from downloadable posters and press release templates to order forms for NPM stickers, pens and collection boxes.
3. Follow NPM on social media www.fb.com/NationalPetMonth, www.fb.com/JoinScratchingPost (cat fans), www.fb.com/JoinParkBench (dog fans) and on Twitter @NatPetMonthUK using the hashtags #NationalPetMonth or #NPM.
4. Tell all your friends about NPM and ask your local vet practices, pet shops, businesses and pet charities to stage a fundraising event for a UK pet charity.
5. Speak to your local school too. Take a look at our pet themed lesson plans at http://www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/schools with more resources at http://www.peteducationresources.co.uk/ to ensure pets are the talk of the classroom!