Benefits of Having a Pet
Our furry friends are more than just companions — many people view their pets as family. In addition, having a pet can benefit your life emotionally, socially, mentally, and physically.
Pets Help You Socialize
For people with dogs, it’s hard to stay isolated when Fido wants to take his walk. Going to places like a dog park gives your pet a chance to socialize with other dogs, and you can talk to the fellow parents. Maybe you can get a date with that cute guy or gal you’ve noticed or make a new friend. Having a pet can be a great icebreaker when meeting people.
Improve Physical Fitness
Dogs need exercise to stay healthy and so do we. Your dog makes a great companion on that hike or walk around the neighborhood, and it also helps you stay fit. Studies have shown that regular dog walkers are less likely to become obese. Even some cats can be leash-trained to take walks (lucky you!).
Other proven health benefits of having a pet include lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and a lower likelihood of heart disease.
Reduce Stress and Loneliness
Had a bad day? Stress can suppress the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. On the other hand, coming home and interacting with your pet can help relieve your stress, decreasing your cortisol levels (a hormone related to stress).
Studies have also shown that:
- People, especially the elderly, with pets are less likely to experience depression and feelings of loneliness.
- Pets can help children with their social and emotional development, and lessen anxiety in stressful situations.
Provide Relief with Certain Disorders
Dogs have been effective in increasing focus in the classroom for children diagnosed with Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In another study, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s reported fewer outbursts if an animal was in the home — especially cats, as they are generally lower maintenance pets.
Some programs use therapy animals to help veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Love, Love, Love
Wouldn’t it be great if all our relationships came without strings? That’s what you get when you have a pet. No one else gets that excited when you come home. Pets just want your love, and they will love you back unconditionally.
Many of the benefits of having a pet are based on science. Researchers are continuing to look at the relationship between having a pet, better health outcomes, and overall well-being. But, you don’t need science to know that having a pet is a wonderful experience, and that is its own benefit.