Having a pet certainly offers many benefits to their human owners and protectors. There is no doubt how much professionally trained helper animals, like guide dogs for the blind, can be of service and help. However, even ordinary household pets can provide people with many types of therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that pets can ease loneliness, relieve stress, and even offer a number of different health benefits. Of course, there is also the possibility that the right pet will also give us lots of unconditional love and affection. What can be better than that?
Easing Childhood Allergies:
One of the most interesting benefits of having a pet in the home is that animals have been shown to help kids breathe easier. There have been a number of studies which demonstrate that a pet in the home can reduce a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. Not only this, but children exposed to animals in the home early on also tend to develop stronger overall immune systems.
Easier To Meet New People:
For many of us, kids and adults alike, meeting new people can be difficult. The good news here is that pets can be an instant icebreaker. Many times pet owners will even stop and admire the others’ pet, leading to a smooth and flowing conversation. This can also include taking your pet to training classes, or even walking parks (primarily for dogs). There are also some interesting online sites geared just for the purpose of helping pet owners to communicate.
Pets Are Good For The Heart:
Were you aware that pet owners actually have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels? There have been a number of recent studies from the CDC and the National Institutes of Health that prove these facts. These lowered numbers also tend to lower one’s risk for things like heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other health issues. Among those people who have already experienced a heart attack, pet owners have a better recovery rate. There is even the thought that pets do have a tendency to help reduce or control the overall stress levels of their owners.
Overall Help for Mood & Health:
In fact, there have been several studies that indicate having a pet is helpful to both the mood and overall health of the owner. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Playing with pets can actually elevate levels of dopamine and serotonin within the brain; two critical hormones that help people remain calm and relax, as well as having an overall elevated mood. Also, did you know that pet owners over the age of 65 actually make 30 percent fewer visits to the doctor than those who do not own pets?
There have even been studies conducted that show hardened criminals who were positively affected by interacting with pets. There are potential long-term behavioral changes after such interactions. Why? The theory is that this may be the first time many of them have experienced mutual affection.
Pets & Healthy Lifestyle Changes:
Pets can also play a role in giving us motivation to make those changes we know we need. After all, your dog needs to be walked and playing with your cat is certainly fun and both are great exercise. This also can help to reduce anxiety and provide structure and routine for your day. Not to mention the fact that touch and movement offer sensory stress relief.
Written by Renee Sabo. Renee loves to spend time with her dog and cat.