Owning a pet not only provides a level of companionship, it can help improve happiness and well-being too. From stress reduction and a mental health boost, to weight loss and improved cardiovascular health, and even lowering blood pressure, there are numerous benefits to having an animal companion. Here’s a look at just a few of the ways adopting a pet can improve your life.
Increased Social Life
A pet provides a sort of “social lubricant” that can make navigating social situations easier for some people. Research consistently finds that when animals are present in social situations, conversation flows more easily, people end up making more eye contact with one another, and there is more engagement between the humans involved. This can be an excellent motivator for those with social anxiety or autism. And it helps anyone who isn’t the most comfortable in social interactions by making for non-confrontational small talk.
Improved Heart Health
The American Heart Association found that the increased activity levels reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Also, lower cholesterol levels provided by pet ownership provides a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Their multi-study review found that pet owners, especially dog owners, had increased survival rates. They also demonstrated reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Lower Blood Pressure
Whether petting a pooch or a kitty, researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that giving love to your furry friend effectively brings down blood pressure. Research showed that the blood pressure response to stress was cut by half in people already taking medication for hypertension if they owned a canine or feline companion.
Owning a pet requires several walks a day in order to for you and the pet to stay healthy. Simply by association, dog owners can reap the benefits of increased activity levels. A study in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health found that dog owners are 2.5 times more likely to achieve the minimum recommended amount of moderate-intensity physical activity than non-dog owners.
Research has found that those who own pets benefit from the close proximity and consistent presence of their furry friend. For whatever reason, animals provide a calming and therapeutic benefit for their owners,. This results in less overall stress and improved mental health. Listening to the purrs or a kitten or watching a fish swimming in a tank provides an almost meditative experience.
Pets provide their owners with unconditional love and support, and as such can have a tremendous effect on boosting mood. This is particularly true in times of crisis, where the presence of a pet can provide a non-judgmental source of attention and affection. In fact, one study showed that 60% of those with mental health issues found their pets to be of critical importance in their recovery and day-to-day living. Pets can also be useful for distracting their owners from negative or harmful thoughts.
Immune System Building
A recent study found that babies whose families had pets in the home had higher levels of two specific types of microbes that are associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity. While the most benefits were seen by those who had dogs in the home during pregnancy and/or for the first three months of baby’s life, the benefit of exposure is still present for older babies and children. In addition, early exposure to dogs was shown to help lower incidences of asthma, hayfever, and eczema in children.
Support for those of Different Abilities
While most people typically think of guide dogs for the visually impaired, dogs and other animals can provide a multitude of therapeutic services. Some pets can detect drops in blood sugar by diabetics or seizures in those with epilepsy. Others serve as emotional support animals.
Emotional support animals can provide assistance to those living with conditions such as autism or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s not just cats and dogs either – service animals can be birds, ferrets, pigs, or anything in between.
Don’t Forget to Care for Your Pet
While you’re sure to enjoy the boost to happiness and well-being that having a pet provides, it’s important to give them the best care possible. This way, you’ll be provided with many years of loving and loyal companionship.
Unexpected accidents and illnesses can often lead to costly veterinary bills, but you can avoid the financial stress of these situations by obtaining pet health care insurance for your beloved four-legged companion. Regular visits to the vet are essential for ensuring a long and healthy life. Some pet insurance policies can help to cover some of these ordinary costs as well as unexpected illnesses or injuries.
Purchasing pet food in the best quality you can afford can help cut down on dental bills and keep your pet’s tummy in top shape, as well. Always provide access to clean drinking water, and regular playtime or exercise. Regular grooming of fur and trimming of nails is also important to your pet’s health and well-being.
Adopting a pet can help you stay happier and healthier. It reduces stress, giving you an excuse to stay active. It even helps to improve your cardiovascular health. Further, an adorable pet promises to be an ice-breaker when meeting new people. Providing top-notch care for your loyal, devoted pet helps to ensure that he’ll live the best life possible. He will spend many years by your side.