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Pets and anxiety/depression

(26 Posts)
suzabella Wed 31-Jan-18 21:44:11

Hi,I just wanted people's opinions on this.
I have suffered with anxiety and depression for the last 2 and a half years so it's put a lot of strain on my relationship with my husband.
However I read lots of things/tips on the internet that say pets are good for your mental health,so i really want a dog. But because we have 3 children and struggle money wise my husband says No and that I'm being selfish,we can't afford it,I struggle coping with 3 kids etc but I'm really peed off about it!!what do other people think?thanks in advance

latara23 Thu 01-Feb-18 15:37:58

Try a cat - they are a lot easier to care for and not (quite) as demanding and childlike as dogs.

My cat was a rescue - very aggressive at first but soon became a spoilt affectionate madam.

I found that when I was depressed I still had to get up and feed her, clean out the litter tray, and she seemed to know when I was low & slept on my bed.
She follows me round like a dog anyway.

Sadly she's dying of cancer now & soon I'll have to make the hard decision to pts but I'm more well now so will be devastated but will cope I think.

I did get a bit paranoid when she was let outside that she wouldn't come back & some days I was too nervous to let her out which probably wasnt fair on her but she just ran round the house.

One thing to consider is that whatever pet you get, it may have or develop mh issues of its own.
For example my sisters cat gets very stressed & has developed ibs!
Children can really upset pets if they are noisy or rough with them.
A friend had 2 dogs that didn't get enough walks and they went a bit mad until she moved to the country, it was awful.

suzabella Sat 03-Feb-18 22:54:53

Thanks for your advice. Sorry to hear about your cat. I still would love a dog,i was scared of them and wouldn't go anywhere near them until I got ill!!now if they come near me I always tend to stroke them or if my friends have dogs I would talk to them about them whereas before I wouldn't have,strange i suppose x

dangermouseisace Sun 04-Feb-18 17:50:50

Personally I wouldn't get a dog if you are struggling financially. I have rabbits, and they are expensive enough- but they cost a lot less to keep and insure than dogs. What would happen if you couldn't afford vet bills? Have a look on local vet websites about how much vaccinations/neutering/other services are for dogs?

Have you thought about volunteering at a rescue?

KinkyDoritowithsparkleson Tue 06-Feb-18 07:38:18

I've just got a dog for the same reason. If you go ahead, get an adult. Mine is lovely but hard work and my mood has plummeted recently. Getting a puppy and the care that requires is very hard going. He's also £££. Think stomach bug before the insurance exemption period ended, costing £200 on top of jabs and worming. It's close to £400 now and I've had him 5 weeks.

KinkyDoritowithsparkleson Tue 06-Feb-18 07:39:53

You can volunteer to walk at your local rescue or cinnamon trust.

FingersXssd83 Wed 07-Feb-18 17:37:48

Thoroughly recommend pets to help you through difficult times, we got two dogs a few years ago and they did wonders for me! Maybe don't get one yourself if it could contribute to extra financial stress and arguments though. Perhaps you could contact your local rescue centre to help out / foster (they usually provide food when you foster) instead? xx

Roselind Wed 07-Feb-18 17:48:08

We got a dog having already had 3 children. The plan was she would help our oldest who had/has various issues. In the event I ended up being the one with all the stress of the dog - it would escape for example (we lived out in the middle of nowhere) and I would be the one to have to chase after it. It all settled as time went by but do be aware training a dog when you are also looking after children and working is not a stress free experience.
On the other hand as she and the children got older, I found taking her out for walks by myself was a really good antidote to life/stress/anxiety. So my questions to you would be:
1. Are your children old enough to be left on their own while you walk the dog or are you at home while they are at school so can walk it then? (obviously they might want to come on some of the walks but not really practical every time every day)
2. Are there good places near where you live to walk with a dog both on and off a lead?

SleightOfMind Wed 07-Feb-18 17:58:33

Dogs are great stress relievers in some ways but hugely stressful in others.

The early days are tough, even with an adult rescue. I don’t know a single person who’s got a new dog and not had a period of bitterly regretting it in the first year.

I’d be very wary of taking on the financial, time, emotional and physical burden of a dog if you’re already struggling with the DCs.

SleightOfMind Wed 07-Feb-18 18:01:09

I have 2 dogs, 4DCs, a deadline driven job and (luckily) robust mental health.

Some days it’s lovely but I often can’t imagine what I was thinking grin

AureliaDeLuca Thu 08-Feb-18 10:11:04

Have you heard of "Borrow a Doggy"? I have been looking into this as I would love to have the structure and exercise dog walking provides but my hubby doesn't want a dog and having grown up with them I know they are a huge commitment. With "Borrow a Doggy" you can find dogs in your area whose owners are at work during the day or unable to exercise them and need someone to take them for walks etc. Might be worth a try.

FingersXssd83 Thu 08-Feb-18 16:38:57

Borrow my doggy is great! There are other sites too where you get matched with old people with dogs who struggle to take them out for big walkies

suzabella Thu 08-Feb-18 22:20:15

Thanks for all your comments,I've come to the conclusion that it prob isn't best to get a dog😓we can't financially afford one,my husband doesn't want one and due to a number of reasons we don't need the added stress!
I will just have to fall in love with the idea of another pet that isn't high maintenance and not expensive to keep,especially as my 5 yr old boy would love to have an animal xx

BeBesideTheSea Thu 08-Feb-18 22:27:28

Don’t rule out small pets. I find the hamster is very good for my mental health, and just as responsive to me “chatting” to him as the cat.

Or maybe fish? I find watching a shoal of tiny fish very relaxing.

dangermouseisace Fri 09-Feb-18 17:00:45

I love my rabbits but I think you have to be a 'rabbit person' to do so. Rabbits very much do things on their terms- some like to be petted, some don't but will come for a nose or some food. There are loads of bonded pairs in rescues- we had a choice of pairs who were all tame and tolerated being picked up (adults need to do that part), AND they'd been neutered and vaccinated already. I pay £20 a month to insure them both. One of them likes to be stroked, the other doesn't so much but likes to eat food out of your hand. My kids love the rabbits too but they knew the score before we got them- most of the fun is in watching them. They need a lot of space but are cheaper to keep than dogs. I think the rabbits are good for my mental health- they make me laugh and they force me to get out of the house. They also up our veg consumption as I'm forever buying kale, and bonus of bonuses- they keep the grass nice and short. I've heard that guinea pigs are good pets too (but need to be indoors), and that there are a fair few in rescues.

NotMeNoNo Fri 09-Feb-18 17:18:47

A sociable cat can be a great companion and much less commitment than a dog. The walking and not being able to leave them for more than a few hours is very constraining with dogs. Maybe try a cat rescue.

suzabella Sun 11-Feb-18 23:06:31

My husband and I have had massive arguments this weekend about getting a dog. My sister (who has a dog) says she will fall out with me if I get a dog as she knows first hand the cons out way the pros and my mum would prob not talk to me. So I'm gutted to say I won't be getting one in the near future!!
Thanks all for all your advice xx

notwonderwoman Sun 11-Feb-18 23:12:46

OP would you consider a cat ? A few people have suggested a cat ...

Madasahattersteaparty1749 Sun 11-Feb-18 23:16:20

Honestly not the same as a dog but have you thought about fish? Watching them is supposed to lower stress levels. Seems to work with my dd. We do also have a cat but he is definitely my cat and none of children get a look in if I’m around.

Deborah543 Sun 11-Feb-18 23:52:41

I agree with the suggestions of volunteering for a local animal rescue or cinnamon trust. Not only do you get to spend time with dogs, you also socialise with people who are very greatful and with cinnamon trust possibly lonely. It's a win/win. Also doing something to help others is also good for your mental health. Triple win. Dog rescues are often on need of fosterers.

Afternoon Mon 12-Feb-18 09:54:18

I would highly recommend a guinea pig, particularly as you have a 5 year old. They are friendly, can be cuddled, are usually docile and much less likely to nip or scratch than certain other pets, they don't need taking for a walk, and are much less expensive than a dog.

FairfaxAikman Mon 12-Feb-18 10:08:18

Dogs are expensive - at a bare minimum a half decent food (not Bakers/Pedigree/Wagg/supermarket food) will cost about £30 a month, then you have the costs of beds, leads, collars, routine vaccs and worming (if you go that route, I don't and use titre/worm count which cost a little more but better for the animal)
Then there's emergency treatment, which adds up quickly. Ddog had routine surgery to remove some lumps over Christmas - £500. Then she developed a reaction to pain meds and anaesthetic- another £40.

Katyx3 Tue 13-Feb-18 18:11:42

Against everything that has been said here
I went against everyone's wishes
I rescued a dog four years ago
She saved my life. X

suzabella Thu 15-Feb-18 08:32:38

Katyx3 if you don't mind me asking,was your mental health not great at the time of getting your dog?is that why you got one?xx

SilverHairedCat Thu 15-Feb-18 08:50:31

Get a cat. I got mine when I was ill the first time, and she did wonders for me. Like a PP, I had to get out of bed to feed and entertain her, which was a good start. She's such wonderful company.

I got an adult rescue dog a year or so ago. Within a month I was wondering why I'd done it and what on earth had possessed me to get her. It was stressful, worrying, and expensive. Her recall was awful and walking her nearly left me in tears. She jumped up at everyone and everything. I was convinced she would run off and never be seen again. Lead walks were a nightmare, and she nearly dragged up both out in front of a car.

A year on, it's mostly resolved and I love her very much. I'm no longer stressed by her, but life is very different with her and it's still a lot of money for food, vets and dog walkers. It's a huge commitment, and sadly I'm ill again but the dog is not actually as good company as the cat for it! 😂

Don't get a dog. Not until you're well.

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