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BellaOnline's Attention Deficit Disorder Editor

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Pets Can Improve Negative Symptoms of ADD


When I look around at friends, family, and acquaintances with Attention Deficit Disorder, one commonality stands out. Most of us have pets. Those various pets serve several important functions in our lives to help improve the negative symptoms of ADD.

Pets impose structure. They need to be fed in a timely manner. Our little friends need attention. A parrot who is left to their own devices without attention may well become a screecher or start to self-mutilate. Exercise is important to many pets. Dogs and cats need their exercise. While a dog loves a good walk, sniffing all of the way, a cat finds aerobics at the end of a jigger stick. Cleaning the pet area is necessary. Responsible pet owners find time to attend to their pets' needs. This requires planning and structure, both of which improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder.

Chaos sometimes reigns in the lives of people with Attention Deficit Disorder. Pets can have a calming effect. Watch a fish tank for a while. As the fish swim, especially the schooling fish, you can feel your body start to relax. Research has shown health benefits associated with petting a cat. Over a 10 year study, it was shown that petting a cat can reduce stress and blood pressure. People who have cats and pet them have a 30 percent lower risk of having a cardiovascular event. It's also soothing to listen to a cat purr. Another study of people who have heart failure showed that having contact with dogs helps to improve their heart and lung function. Walking a dog is good exercise for you and the dog. Chemicals associated with exercise can also calm people and bring about a feeling of satisfaction with life.

Depression can go hand-in-hand with ADD for some people. Listening to birds chirp and sing can be cheerful. Their antics can be downright hilarious and help improve the person's mood. A little cheer can go a long way when depression strikes. A pet can also give you something to care about, even when the rest of your life feels dark and sad.

What do you need to consider when you are thinking of making a pet a part of your family? Pets take commitment. Various breeds of dogs live different amounts of time. Many cats can live to be almost twenty-years-old. The same is true for small parrots like cockatiels, parakeets, and lovebirds. Larger parrots can live for more than 80 years. You have to make a plan for their later care. Even goldfish can be long lived under the right conditions. If they have appropriate food and housing, some fish can live longer than 10 years. Are you ready to make the commitment?

Pets do cost money. They need good food and toys. Veterinary bills can be expensive. Don't wait until your pet needs a vet to go to one. Make sure that your pet has an annual check-up and that your vet is compatible with you and your pet. Do you have the will and the money to take care of a pet?

Beyond structure and mood stabilizing, pets provide us with unconditional love. They are there when your mood is crummy. A pet is ready to greet you at the door with a song, meow, or bark, no matter how bad your day has been. Many of us had years in school where we felt pushed aside and out of step with our classmates. When a person with ADD is different from others, they can feel that people don't understand their needs. My cat always loves me, no matter how weird I am! A well-loved pet always cares. That unconditional love of a pet for their person can be one of the mightiest gifts that life has to offer.


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Content copyright © 2014 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.

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