Owning pets can do more than just make you happy – it can improve your health too! Here are just a few of the benefits of owning a pet:
Improves your emotional health and mood
Pets give their owners a sense of purpose and feeling of validation. When you wake up in the morning or come home after work, there’s always someone there to see you. People who own a pet also tend to have more laughter in their life. You don’t have to explain anything to your pet and you’re immediately their favourite person when you come home at the end of the day.
Reduces your stress response
When you feel securely attached to a living being like a cat or dog, biological brain effects reduce your stress response – affecting your breathing rate, blood pressure or oxygen consumption and anxiety levels.
Ease your pain
If you’re dealing with chronic pain (i.e. migraines or arthritis), pets can reduce your level of anxiety. The less anxiety, the less pain. A study from Loyola University showed that people who use pet therapy in recovery from surgery may need less pain medication than those who do not.
Promotes social interaction
Dog owners love to stop and chat to other dog owners. An increased level of socialisation in neighbourhoods can lead to a great perception that the neighbourhood seems ‘friendly.’
It’s believed that pets can drastically reduce the likelihood of developing allergies as a child. Research has shown that children living in pet-owning households are less likely to develop allergies if they’ve grown up around animals. Getting a pet as an adult, however, will not minimise allergies.
Help children develop
A child’s emotional development can be greatly helped by growing up in a household with pets. When they attach themselves to a cat or dog, they learn to express themselves more creatively and can relate better. For children who live with ADHD, taking care of a pet gives them a chance to focus on responsibilities through a predictable routine. The sensory experience of holding and stroking an animal can be very soothing for children.
Love and companionship
As humans, we do our best medically and emotionally when we feel securely attached to each other – mammals have evolved that way. We feel especially secure with cats and dogs because of the unconditional love they provide. Your cat or dog accepts you and will be attached you.
Keep us present
Pets serve as a very constant reminder about living in the moment – it’s the only way they know how to live. We spend a lot of time worrying about the future and what people think, while our animals live simply in the here and now. Their focus is entirely on whatever is right in front of them. There’s something to be said for pets being wiser than their owners…