pets health

6 Proven Health Benefits of Owning Pets

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Those who own pets understand the limitless love and joy that comes from having animal companions. Whether they’re goldfishes, turtles, rabbits, cats, or dogs, these animals are often sources of indescribable happiness for their owners. In fact, many owners treat their pets like members of the family, gifting them with quality accessories like personalized martingale dog collars, catnip toys, and luxury pet beds.

Besides receiving an endless supply of love and happiness, pet owners also experience several mental and physical health benefits thanks to their animals. Other than providing people with companionship, scientific studies have shown that pets can reduce their owners’ depression and stress, improve their physical health, enhance their social life, and help children develop a stronger immune response.

If you’d like to know more about the positive effects of having an animal companion, below are six things pets can do to improve your health:

It Promotes Cardiovascular Wellness

Owning a pet can be good for your heart—quite literally, actually. Not only can your pet make your heart feel warm and fuzzy, but their presence can also promote cardiovascular wellness. Research has shown that pet owners are less likely to experience cardiovascular diseases, as these people are found to have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides compared to people who don’t own pets.

Another study found that patients suffering from hypertension experienced reduced blood pressure within a few months of adopting a dog. Dog owners who were heart attack survivors were also shown to have a better survival rate by outliving patients who didn’t own pets. Meanwhile, doctors have observed that cat owners are less likely to experience strokes.

Although researchers are still trying to figure out the exact science behind these phenomena, these extraordinary health benefits certainly make pet ownership worth considering.

It Improves Physical Fitness

Owning pets like cats and dogs can incentivize you to stay active, as they need a proper amount of exercise to stay fit and healthy. For instance, you might play with your cat by running around the house with a toy mouse on a string. If you’re a dog owner, you might walk—or if you’re up for the challenge, run—outside for half an hour with your canine. You can even include your pets in your regular workouts to maximize this health benefit.

It Boosts Children’s Allergy Immunity

It was widely thought that having pets in the house would trigger or exacerbate children’s allergies and asthma symptoms. However, recent pediatric studies have shown that children who grow up in an environment with furry pets or large farm animals are less prone to experiencing allergies or asthma. Infants in these studies were also less likely to experience skin allergies like eczema. Doctors suspect that this is because earlier exposure to animal allergens can strengthen the immune system.

It Relieves Stress and Anxiety

While cortisol is a stress hormone that naturally activates during moments of distress, regularly experiencing high levels of it can cause mental health conditions like anxiety. Fortunately, being in the presence of a pet has been proven to lower cortisol levels and blood pressure for the people around them.

Indeed, interacting with pets can provide people with immediate stress relief and curb different forms of anxiety. Pet owners can calm down simply by engaging with their animal companions, such as by stroking a rabbit’s fur or even watching a pet turtle move around.

Petting animals can also provide sensory stress relief for neurodivergent children on the autism spectrum. This is because touching the soft fur of an animal can help keep children occupied and calm.

Pets are also great companions for older people, especially those experiencing Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that many patients experience less stress and angry outbursts when they were placed in an environment decorated with fish tanks.

It Reduces Depression

Interacting with your pet not only decreases your cortisol levels, but also increases your production of serotonin and dopamine. These are two of the hormones responsible for inducing happiness and pleasure. Additionally, animals are great listeners and provide a lot of comfort to their human companions. These factors are why many pet owners—especially those diagnosed with terminal or mental illnesses—can prevent and alleviate symptoms of depression.

It Enhances Your Social Life

Although this last benefit may not be directly linked to your physical health, it can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. Owning a pet can enhance your social life by encouraging you to interact with more people. This is especially great if you’re someone who’s very shy or has trouble making conversation with others. You may have already noticed people gravitating towards you and your pet whenever you’re out and about, and these can be great opportunities to make some new friends. For instance, if you own a dog, you can bond with other owners in a dog park or set up playdates for your canines.

As discussed above, there are many scientific explanations as to why pets are great for your mental and physical health. That said, those who know what it’s like to love an animal and be loved in return already know how rewarding it is to own a pet regardless of what research has to say.No matter who they are or what they’re going through, their animal companions will always be by their sides.At the end of the day, many owners will attest to how their pet’s unconditional love is what keeps them happy and healthy.

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