If you have been a pet parent for any length of time, you know how important your pet is and how quickly they become part of the family. You may not know, however, some of the very specific ways that owning a pet can be a benefit to both your physical and psychological health. Let’s take a closer look at some of the many ways that pets enhance our lives.
In addition to providing love and affection to us, owning a pet also offers the following physical benefits:
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Fights Allergies
- Relieves Stress
- Improves heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides
How is it possible that having a pet can actually be good for our heart? Well, think about it; dogs need exercise and we all know exercise is essential to our health and well-being. When we are in the habit of walking our dog each day, not only does this help our dog to maintain a healthy weight, but we benefit as well. Not only are pets beneficial for heart health but there are also studies that show that patients struggling with Alzheimers have fewer outbursts when there is a pet in the home.
Interestingly enough, kids who grow up with pets tend to have stronger immune systems and fewer allergies. The dander from the pet hair actually serves as natural immunotherapy.
Perhaps one of the reasons pets can be so beneficial to our physical health stems from the fact they benefit us psychologically as well. Here are some of the psychological benefits that pets offer:
- Pets help ease depression and loneliness
- Pets help children develop greater empathy and responsibility
- Pets help people socialize
- Pets can help us feel safe when we’re home alone
Pets provide constant companionship, so for those who live alone, pets can help to fill the void; especially for older men and women who suddenly find themselves alone due to the death of a spouse. Pets can also be a great teaching tool for kids. Pets require food and water and basic care; this is a great way to teach young children responsibility and how to look out for the needs of someone else. Pets also help us socialize. When we have to take our dogs for a walk or a run in the dog park, that can be a great way to meet people; especially people who are somewhat like-minded. If you find yourself in a community of other pet owners, already you have something in common.
It's really quite amazing to think about how beneficial pets can be. If you’ve been considering getting a pet but have been hesitant to do so, consider that getting a pet could be just what the doctor ordered!