For all of the animal lovers, your pet addictions may be really benefitting your long-term health! Regardless of this association, pets are too cute to pass up anyway.
The feature image above is my cat Mowgli. He’s a very independent animal but has so much character. I adopted him when he was under a year old and he was found in an abandoned barn with his sister and mother. In other words, he was feral. It took quite a bit of effort to acclimate him to living with people and having him trust me. ❤
I recently read the newest addition of Shape Magazine and was so surprised that pet ownership saves 11.8 billion dollars in healthcare spending in the U.S. For example, people who own dogs and walk them on a regular basis are less likely to be obese than those who dot not own pets.
If you don’t own pets and have solid reasoning for not taking the plunge, such as finances or travel habits, you can always borrow a friend’s or volunteer!
Overall, there are proven physical, mental, and emotional benefits of owning pets. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) exclaims that owning a pet can lower your:
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Triglyceride levels
- Feelings of loneliness
In addition, pet ownership increases your outdoor activities and exercise in order to care of your pet. Personally, I often bring my sister’s dog on runs with me and he actually pushes me to run in larger strides!
Owning a pet also increases your socialization, thus improving your social skills overall. Have you ever noticed your dog being a consistent conversation piece, or another person’s big Siberian husky or little corgi being adored at the park? People are often calmed by the presence of animals, and even put in a happier mood.
The American Heart Association has stated a linkage between owning pets and a reduced rate of heart disease as well as an improvement of life expectancy.
Caring for pets has been known to also reduce depression, due to the emotional bond of humans and pets. Cats and dogs, for instance, can develop an understanding of tone of voice, body language, and gestures, as well as certain words. Humans gain a sense of loyalty and comfort to have this presence in their routines. The simple act of touch that your pet brings is the overall therapeutic effect that makes pet ownership a lifestyle health solution.
Playing with a dog or cat can increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, which cause you to relax. It has been a recent discovery that bringing puppies to college campuses during exam week drastically changes the study behaviors and emotional state of students, giving them a mental release from studying.
It is known that isolation and loneliness trigger depression, and a pet brings companionship to counteract that. Caring for an animal makes you feel needed or wanted, which takes the focus off of your own problems and placing more priority onto your pet.
Exercising and feeding a pet can bring great structure and routine to a day. Routines make people more productive and motivated to get out into the world and be able to manage their time effectively. Taking care of an animal is a responsibility that engages you into a consistent schedule, to fulfill the pet’s needs and your own.
It is also important to recognize the health benefits and positive development of pet ownership for age groups specifically. When examining the elderly population and children, these benefits become very evident.
The elderly population:
As people age, owning a pet can be very helpful in finding meaning and joy in everyday things. As people get older they adjust to new lifestyles, often taking out previous activities that used to take up significant amounts of time. Animal care can bring a boost in morale, optimism, and even a sense of self-worth to the elderly. There is also a major sense of fulfillment that older people gain from adopting a pet from a shelter and providing them with a safe and loving home, given they could have been euthanized.
Owning a pet can maintain a social network, and the elderly population often feels disconnected as they age and possibly move and live away from friends and family.
The elderly also deal with loss, especially from spouses. My grandmother adopted a dog after her husband passed away and it brought her so much comfort and joy to have him every day. She was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which brought on a lot of stress and anxiety, and this was significantly reduced from her bond with her dog.
Children that grow up with animals actually develop less asthma and allergies due to the close proximity. Children also learn to be compassionate as they play with animals, and practicing what it means to show empathy.
The love and loyalty of animals gives children a sense of security they can rely on in their early years of development. In addition, children often feel a sense of importance from having a family pet, and feel the responsibility of returning the care their pet gives them. This leads to a better self-image, which is crucial for a child to grow up developing healthy relationships with more confidence.
Despite all of this information, of course there is time and dedication that goes into having a pet. One should be sure they can provide the love and affection a pet needs prior to making the decision, however, the decision will definitely bring a lot of positivity to one’s life with the right attitude.
I hope this pet-friendly article was insightful as to why your pet is benefitting your life! Have a great week and thanks for reading. xx