I've always grown up with a house full of pets and loved every minute of it. I'm going to try and list all of the pets I've ever had just for fun.
Please note: We did NOT have all of these pets at the same time! That would have been madness! Cute but madness!
Cats: Cuddles, Lightening Bolt, Victoria, Dillon, Stella, Dillon Jane aka DJ
Dogs: Gordon, Bear, Battle
Fish: Othello, Artemis, Jupiter, Raven, Okeechobee
Frogs: Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, Lava
Birds: Antoinette, I cannot remember the names of the other two
See? I've had a lot of pets! We are animal lovers! Not only are animals amazing because they're so stinking cute - they're good for your mental health!
By doing a quick Google search of, "Why are pets good for your mental health?" you'll see tons of articles pop up. Here are some points that various articles mention:
You're more likely to be active especially if your pet is a dog. It forces you outside in the beautiful sunshine! You're walking more than you normally would.
Pets can make your day more structured. There are now times that your pet needs to eat, be walked, cuddled with, etc.
They offer unconditional love. Coming home to a pet is one of the most enjoyable moments in the day!
Caring for a pet makes you feel needed especially if you are living alone.
Pets can introduce you to new people!
Being able to cuddle with a pet can reduce anxiety.
Now I'm going to list reasons why having a pet can help with your BFRB*:
Pets keep you busy. With the added responsibility you might have less time to pull or pick.
Pets keep your hands busy. Petting, cuddling, brushing, washing, playing with toys, etc.
Grooming your pet can feel as satisfying as a pulling or picking episode.
Your pet can read your mood and show more affection during episodes. They might even be able to snap you out of the trance just by walking into the room or poking you with their nose.
You can train your pet to notify you when you are pulling or picking. I know someone who dedicates their life to training pets to help with BFRBs! Their Instagram account is @BFRBdogs.
After a pulling or picking episode you can turn to your pet for comfort.
Your pet loves you no matter what you look like.
I'm not suggesting you run to a pet store and buy the first pet you see BUT I am suggesting that if you are without a pet but are considering one to go for it! Loving a pet will change your life.
*Body-focused repetitive behavior. Ex. trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), dermatillomania (skin picking disorder), onychophagia (nail biting), dermatophagia (skin biting), rhinotillexomania (nose picking), cheek/lip biting.