From fitness to wellbeing: The health benefits of owning a pet

Image credit: chendongshan via iStock

Whether you're team cat, team dog, team guinea pig or team goldfish, our pets bring us so much joy that many of us can't imagine life without them. They're always there to put a smile on our faces after a long day and cheer us up when we're feeling down.

But did you know there are actually proven mental health benefits to owning a pet? Of course, there can be some physical health benefits associated with being a pet owner too - let's take a look at a few of them.

Dogs: The best motivation to exercise

While riding a horse and mucking out chickens are guaranteed to provide a good workout, not all of us are lucky enough to have room for farm animals at home. Most of us have probably got space for a dog though - little pooches like chihuahuas are only tiny, after all.

Dog owners have a reason to get outdoors, enjoy some fresh air and get in some valuable exercise several times a day, all while spending quality time with their canine friend. Whether it's just a gentle stroll down local country lanes or a vigorous game of fetch in the park, both you and your four-legged companion will benefit hugely from the regular exercise and fresh air.

Exercise has been proven to boost mental wellbeing too, so it shouldn't only be your fitness that improves after you join the dog owners' club. Going for a dog walk gives you the chance to clear your head away from the rest of your responsibilities and enjoy some time that's just about you and the pooch.

How to banish that wet dog smell for good

As lovable as our dogs are, it's an unfortunate fact that they can be pretty smelly, especially after a particularly invigorating trip to the park or a walk in the rain. Bathing them can be a bit of a battle, but our new range of Whiff Away products in our brand new Home Solutions collection (available to purchase from March 1st) will help to relieve your home of the pong.

Image credit: mis1iI via iStock

Comprising a Candle in a Tin, a 100ml Reed Diffuser and one of our new 100ml Room Sprays, the Whiff Away fragrance is a gorgeous blend of clary sage and refreshing bergamot, designed to rid your home of stinky pet odours, leaving it smelling like a bracing walk on the heath.

So, whether your dog's been rolling around in the duck pond, you're cleaning out the rabbit's cage or the cat's had an accident indoors, our Whiff Away home fragrance products will banish those unpleasant smells, leaving behind a beautifully fresh scent instead.

Pets bring us so much joy

Stroke your cat - it's good for you

Dogs aren't the only popular pets that can provide our mental wellbeing with a much-needed boost from time to time. In fact, there are several pieces of scientific research that show stroking a cat is good for your health.

Stroking your feline friend and snuggling up together helps your brain to release more of the hormone oxytocin, which is the same chemical released when we hug a loved one, meaning it can instantly cheer you up and make you feel a little better.

Image credit: KandM-photography

Cats: Secret life-savers?

These links between pet ownership and improved fitness and mental health are all easy to understand, but would you have thought that cat owners are also less likely to suffer heart attacks?

According to research carried out by scientists from the University of Minnesota's Stroke Institute, the laid back nature of most cats that means they love being stroked, releasing all of that oxytocin in our bodies, not only calms us down, but makes us less likely to have a heart attack.

That's because there's a well-known link between stress and heart attacks, so anything that reduces stress levels will naturally lower the risk. And stroking a cat sounds like a much simpler way to achieve that than bending into contortionist-style yoga poses to us.

See, pets are not just extremely lovable, but also good for our health - just remember to always have one of our Whiff Away Room Sprays handy for when they start to smell less than fresh.

Whiff Away is just one of six new fragrances in the Heyland & Whittle Home Solutions range. Shop the full collection here