You love your pets. They are members of the family and hold a special place in your heart. Did you know they are actually good for your health? Various scientific studies continue to show the advantages of owning pets. Here are our favorite health benefits of owning pets.
A Healthy Heart
Pet owners are less likely to have heart disease. Lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower triglycerides are more common in pet owners than in those that don’t own pets. Furthermore, people that have suffered heart attacks and those that live with irregular heart rhythms tend to live longer if they own pets.
Ease Stress and Depression
Your pet loves to be petted. Did you know that humans benefit from the petting, too? It reduces a stress hormone called cortisol while producing a hormone that relaxes the body. Even just looking at our pets can give us a feeling of joy. Similar results have been found in those suffering from depression and PTSD. Pets can soothe the symptoms of PTSD and ease the pressure of depression by providing something else to focus on. The unconditional love and acceptance that pets give us helps with the dark and trying times.
Build a Connection
Pets, especially dogs, can help us build a connection with others. They are a natural topic of conversation and can make interaction between strangers easier. People in wheelchairs that have dogs with them experience more eye contact from people than those that do not have a dog. The dogs help to break down that barrier and so many others. People with pets are more likely to take leadership roles, have more confidence, and be more empathetic.
Families Bond Around Pets
Families as a whole can benefit from having pets. It can instill responsibility and help to bridge the different generations and personalities. Everyone can appreciate a funny story about what the dog did and can enjoy watching the cat play with an LED toy. When the time comes and the family pet passes, the family can grieve together.
People that have pets are generally happier, more trusting, and less lonely. Pets can give us mere humans a sense of belonging and provide meaning to our lives.
Good for Baby
Children that are raised with pets are less likely to suffer from allergies and asthma. Babies with dogs and cats at home tend to have fewer colds and ear infections during the first year of life. But to get the full benefits, you better get a pet early. The best results are seen when the baby is introduced to pets before 6 months of age.
People with autism have a hard time connecting with others. This can be especially difficult for children. But there is hope and it is found in your favorite furry friend. Other kids tend to relate better to kids with autism if there is a pet in the room. This shows once again how our pets are natural bridges that help us connect with others.
Dogs like to take walks. It is good for them to exercise and get out in the world. It’s good for their owners, too. Walking is a health benefit of having dogs. Dog owners walk nearly twice as much per week as non-dog owners. All this walking means they are 54% more likely to reach recommended fitness levels than those without a dog. Get a great leash and take your dog for a walk. It can help both you and your pet.
Ease Chronic Pain Suffering
Pets can help people that suffer from chronic pain. Petting animals can release endorphins that can lessen chronic pain. With this information, some doctors have begun to recommend pet therapy. Less pain medication is needed by patients that participate in pet therapy. Not only is it the benefit of endorphins, but also the distraction that patients receive. Having pets to take care of, even if for a short time, is a positive distraction for those suffering.
Some dogs have an innate gift to sense changes in the human body. This is important for those with diabetes. Dogs can be trained to sense dangerous low blood sugar levels by noticing the change in the owner’s breath. Once they spot the change, they can signal the owner or other party to take action. This can be especially important for children as they learn how to control their blood sugar. Dogs trained for this purpose can be found at Early Alert Canines, Dogs4Diabetics, and Dogs Assisting Diabetics.
You already knew you loved your pet, but now you know just how truly amazing he is. Your dog and cat help you in ways you didn’t even know about. Your life has improved just by having them present every day. Make sure you give your pet some extra lovin’ for all that they do for you.