Most pet owners would indeed attest to the immediate joys you can feel when owning a pet, but there are yet even more benefits to be had, both in terms of mental and physical health, from owning a pet.
Companion animals or furry friends don’t just serve us humans, for companionship’s sake or as source of comfort or security. Recently, studies have also scientifically shown the real benefits of maintaining that human-animal bond in terms of health.
One of the best reasons why having a pet can be therapeutic for one’s health is that most types of pets can offer humans the basic need of connection and touch. Reports show that even toughened criminals in prison cells have benefited and acquired long-term behavioral changes within themselves from regularly interacting with pets. Sad to say, many of these convicts experience mutual affection only for the very first time.
Another advantage from owning a pet is that pets can be a great nudge or encouragement for you to go out more often, as you go out to visit the pet spa or vet or go out for a walk with your dog to exercise. All these activities substantially help boost fitness, mood, and overall happiness, especially as you get to meet other pet-lovers, too.
By the way, by the term “pet”, this doesn’t just apply to dogs, cats, bunnies, hamster and other mammals; this can also include other types of legally owned pets such as fish, birds, or small lizards. Even just watching your goldfish swim in its aquarium can significantly help reduce your blood pressure and muscle tension, as it provides you serene feelings and total relaxation.
While lovingly touching, petting, holding, or cuddling a pet can instantly help soothe and calm us as well as ease our stress; the companionship one can get from having a pet can effectively ease loneliness and most of all, prevent illness.
Here are 10 Reasons Why Having a Pet Is Good for Your Health:
1. Decreased anxiety
The constant, unwavering companionship of a pet dog or cat can offer you great comfort and love, which can also ease your anxiety. Aside from this, the responsible ownership of pets helps add structure and purpose to your life, making routine living seem more worthwhile.
All pets, especially dogs and cats, require regular feeding, cleaning and maintenance, as well as attention and exercise to keep you inspired to keep on caring for them for its sure rewards. No matter what your mood or situation—whether you’re depressed, stressed, or anxious with the pressures of everyday life—you’ll always want to be there for your pets, to care for them, so you can lovingly get some comfort and affection in exchange.
2. Fewer doctor visits
Some studies demonstrate that senior pet owners (people over 65 years old who have pets) are less likely to visit their doctors. The rate is by about 30 percent compared to seniors who don’t have any pets.
3. Lowers blood pressure
Compared to those living without pets, people who have a pet have lower blood pressure in stressful situations.
4. Better mood and less depression
Petting your animal friend can help increase your body’s levels of good hormones (serotonin and dopamine), helping you to generally feel good. The long-term benefits of having a pet include being less prone to suffering from depression, compared to not owning any kinds of pets.
5. Reduced cholesterol
Pet owners have also been shown to have lower triglyceride levels as well as cholesterol levels as opposed to people living without pets.
6. Prolonged life
For people who have experience heart attacks, patients with pets are reported to survive better and live longer than patients living without pets.
Loneliness and isolation can worsen disorders like anxiety and depression, and caring for a responsive, loving animal can give you comfort and make you feel wanted or needed at the same time. It also helps to distract you from stewing in your problems so that you can focus on the more positive things in life. The best reason to own a pet is most probably its therapeutic effects, especially as they help provide you the affection you need as well as the motivation to keep going.
8. Sensory stress-relief benefits
Two naturally healthy ways to help effectively manage stress are sense of touch and body movement. Petting your cat or taking your dog out for a walk readily offers these benefits.
9. Opportunity to exercise
Healthy regular exercise doesn’t need to mean boring repetitive workouts at the gym. Taking your dog for a walk in the park or around the neighborhood, or simply playing with your cats at home can be fun, active ways to keep you fit and healthy on a day-to-day basis.
10. Chance to meet new people
Finally, for people who almost find no time to hang out with their friends or meet new people, pets can be a great source of social interaction. Dog owners and even cat mom/dads are generally friendly, approachable people, stopping to talk with other pet owners on the park or trips to the vet, training classes, pet spas, or pet stores. What better way to meet other people who are also like-minded pet aficionados. Having a happy, healthy new relationship can also be a good precursor to good health.