If you’re one of the millions of people thinking about getting a pet, many benefits come with owning a dog or cat. Some people love pets so much that they don’t even begin to consider any other type of animal. For those who want to know more, here are eight health benefits pets can provide.
Health Benefit 1: Pets Keep Your Heart Healthy
Did you know that owning a pet can keep your heart healthy? It’s true! Dogs especially need daily exercise, but they also need companionship. Pet owners tend to get more exercise than people who don’t own pets because they have to walk their dogs or take them out to meet other puppies in public places. The additional walking keeps their heart rate up and helps improve cardiovascular function.
Pet owners also tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels than people who don’t own pets, decreasing the risk of heart disease. Owning a dog is particularly beneficial for older people at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes.
But pet ownership isn’t just good for your heart – it’s also good for your waistline! People who own dogs walk, on average, 300 minutes per week, compared to only 176 minutes each week by non-dog owners. More exercise means more calories burned and less stored as fat, so owning a pet can help you stay in shape and keep off excess pounds!
Health Benefit 2: Pets Make You Less Depressed
According to several studies, people who own pets are less likely to be depressed than people who don’t have a pet. Pet owners had lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which means they were under less physiological Stress than people without pets. People with depression often have cortisol levels that are too high or too low, interfering with daily life.
Pets also provide emotional support for their owners when they’re stressed out or feeling sad. Unconditional love and constant companionship make people feel better by reducing their anxiety and loneliness.
Health Benefit 3: Pets Improve Your Social Life
Another health benefit of owning a pet is that it can improve your social! Pets make great conversation starters because almost everyone loves them. Being a pet owner can improve your social life because you’ll have something to talk about with other people, and it will give you an excuse to go out and meet new people, which is excellent for both mental and physical health.
Health Benefit 4: Reduces loneliness
Having an animal companion or pets around has displayed improvements in mental or emotional states, like reducing feelings of depression. Pets offer unconditional love and support to their owners unconditionally. They are not judgemental; this provides immense help for people who struggle with social relationships and may also suffer from mild depression.
When talking about clinical depression, pets might not provide that kind of support since the disorder requires professional help beyond the scope of what a pet can do. It is important to remember that for all types of depression, it is always best to get treatment from a mental health professional.
Health Benefit 5: Relieve Stress
Studies have shown that having a dog or cat in the house relieves Stress. Research shows that when people interact with pets, their bodies produce higher levels of oxytocin, known as “the cuddle hormone,” which decreases blood pressure and releases muscle tension. So not only does owning a pet lessen your stress levels, but it can also improve your heart health.
Health Benefit 6: Pets Improve Both Mental And Physical Health In Kids
Pet ownership in childhood has been shown to increase self-esteem in kids, which in turn helps them cope with social challenges in school. Pet ownership is also associated with improved mental health, like reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression and lower rates of loneliness. Additionally, animal owners are more likely to get their children vaccinated, which can help protect kids from illness later on.
Health Benefit 7: Improve Quality Of Life For People With Chronic Illness Or Disability
There’s often stigma attached to owning pets when you have a chronic illness or disability. But the reality is that for whatever reason, you may not be able to engage fully in physical activity like other people your age, yet still want something warm and fuzzy by your side – well, furry friends make lovely companions for those who can’t get out much. Animal companionship helps improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities and even decreases the symptoms associated with mental illness.
Health Benefit 8: Pets May Help Keep You Fit And Healthy
You probably know that exercise is good for you, but what you might not know is that taking your dog on a daily walk or run or playing fetch with your cat can make it easier to stick to your goals. Adding playtime with the pets into your workout won’t just reduce their energy output, but it will also strengthen human-animal bonds and increase everyone’s overall happiness. Even if you live by yourself, research shows that people who own pets are more likely to perform regular self-care activities like taking walks, which may impact overall fitness.
Just from the eight health benefits identified, owning a pet offers plenty of perks. However, there are even more! Pet owners have been shown to have improved immune function and lower blood pressure than those without pets. A pet can be a great source of companionship and love. They will never talk back to you, overshare about their personal life, gossip about other people or judge you when others do.