Is there anything like getting greeted at the door by your jubilant pup or snuggling your unconditionally loving cat? Whatever pet you call your own, there’s no doubt that animals can bring us insane amounts of joy in our everyday life. What you might not know is that pets can also have a remarkably positive effect on your overall well-being. Whether you have a pet or you’re thinking about bringing a new furry friend into your life, this article will help you understand these amazing animals more.
They’ll Help You Get More Exercise
Owning a pet, particularly an active variety like a dog, means you have to up your own exercise to help them stay healthy and get the minimum amount of movement. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a run down to a local park, a hike, or even a bike ride for high-energy breeds, owning a pet means you have to build exercise into your day.
Your Blood Pressure May Be Lower
High blood pressure is a widespread issue in the U.S., affecting one in three adults. If you’re concerned about this for yourself or your loved ones, having pets can help. Studies have shown pet owners, specifically dog-owners, have lower blood pressure and are potentially at less of a risk of developing cardiovascular disease than non-pet owners. Even the simple act of petting a dog can bring down blood pressure.
You Might Feel Less Stressed
Just being with your pet has the ability to reduce your stress on a chemical level, according to veterinary medicine academic Rebecca A. Johnson, Ph.D., as quoted in DailyPaws.
“A powerful neurochemical, oxytocin, is released when we look at our companion animal, which brings feelings of joy. It’s also accompanied by a decrease in cortisol, a stress hormone,” Johnson shares.
In an increasingly busy and uncertain world, anything that reduces your stress is a good thing.
They Can Ward Off Your Children’s Allergies
Pets don’t just benefit you; they can also help your whole family. Studies have shown that children have a lower risk of developing allergies or eczema if they were around pets before reaching 6 months of age. This applies not just to dogs and cats but also to farm animals.
They Can Help You Fight Depression
Depression is a prevalent issue for many people, and treatment can be daunting since the condition itself can affect motivation. If you or someone important in your life is facing depression, know that taking care of a pet—and not just a cat or dog—can ease the symptoms. In a study of elderly individuals in 2016, merely caring for caged crickets helped reduce feelings of depression.
They Can Be Trained to Sense Health Changes
Pets can also take a more active role in your health with the proper training. Support animals can learn to sense dangerous drops in blood sugar, prostate cancer, and other conditions.
They Can Help You Make Friends
Walk a new puppy through a park and count how many times you’re stopped by total strangers to chat and socialize. It’s probably obvious, but it’s also been shown through experiments that pets can increase your opportunities to socialize. In a study conducted by Dr. June McNicholas, being out and about with a dog compared to being alone resulted in many more interactions with strangers.
You Might Live Longer Because of Them
In the end, our dear animal companions can actually increase our life expectancy. Cat owners were shown in a Minnesota Stroke Institute study to have a 30 percent lower risk of heart-disease-related death. Similarly, people who own dogs can have longer lives than non-dog-owners. If people have experienced a stroke or heart attack, owning dogs can also help with recovery.
With all the benefits of owning a pet, it seems a pretty small price to pay to feed them and take them for a walk a few times a day. If you own a pet, give it some extra attention. If you don’t, consider adopting from a local shelter and enriching your life.