Its common knowledge that interacting with animals is beneficial for humans. Many posts on the Internet have shown the healing power of pets. From veterans with PTSD to children with Autism, pets can help people with different health issues.
The joy of coming home to a devoted companion is incomparable. But pets aren’t only great companions – the unconditional love you get from them has many other benefits. Among other things, they can reduce stress, increase heart health and improve children’s emotional and social skills.
Pets provide comfort and support – particularly therapy dogs. Sometimes, they are even brought into nursing homes or hospitals to help patients handle anxiety and stress better. Research has shown that dogs can also help children diagnosed with ADHD focus.
In this article, you’ll learn how owning a pet can benefit your physical and mental health.
Pets Improve the Quality of Your Life
Dogs – particularly therapy dogs – can be a great source of support for people who’ve suffered an injury or are dealing with an illness. For instance, petting a dog can help you rebuild strength while recovering. Therapy dogs are trained to assist people with health issues and can understand commands.
But dogs aren’t the only pets with such healing powers. Horses can also help people build core strength and achieve balance. They can particularly benefit patients who’ve suffered a stroke.
Pets are responsive to people’s illnesses and can help them forget about their condition for a while. For instance, if you have a condition like rheumatoid arthritis, walking and playing with your animal can be very beneficial.
Only the mere presence of your pet can improve your mood and give you a sense of tranquility.
Pets Help You Manage Stress and Depression
You could talk to your pet all day long, and they would listen to you without interrupting. This interaction, as well as playing and walking, can be very beneficial for people recovering from depression.
People experience a lot of stress due to the hectic pace of modern life. Stress can affect our bodies in different ways, one of them being a high risk of heart disease. Interacting with pets can help you neutralize these effects by decreasing stress levels.
What’s more, pets can also reduce anxiety and loneliness. As studies have shown, if college students pet a dog or a cat for 10 minutes, their cortisol levels decrease. Thus, it helps them reduce the stress they experience before an exam.
Pets Can Help You Manage Your Blood Pressure
Managing your weight and staying active are crucial to controlling your blood pressure. But a pet can also help you with it. Owning a pet can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Pes can also reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels – particularly in high-risk patients. While there is no concrete explanation for this, scientists believe it is connected to the active lifestyle you adopt when taking care of your pet.
However, even if pets can improve our health, it’s still critical to getting support from a medical expert. They can evaluate you and check whether any conditions require immediate treatment.
And nowadays, making an appointment with the doctor is easier than ever, as you can access remote healthcare. These telemedicine solutions have many benefits: they are time-saving, easily accessible, and provide peer support for people dealing with challenges, such as infertility or bereavement.
Pets Can Prevent Allergies in Children
For children growing up surrounded by pets, keeping allergies away is much easier, as their immune system is stronger. Plus, there are higher levels of specific chemicals in their system, which is also connected to their increased immunity. Thus, as they get older, they are less likely to struggle with health issues.
Allergies are generally triggered by pet fur and dander. However, children who are exposed to pet dander in the first year of their life are less likely to get asthma. One study has shown that newborns who live in a house with cats are less susceptible to developing asthma, pneumonia or bronchiolitis.
Pets Keep You Active
An active lifestyle is a key to staying healthy. For dog owners, walking their furry pets is part of their daily routines. But this isn’t beneficial only for your dog – it also gets you moving. Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be a gym workout. As long as you engage in physical activity, anything that’s right for you works.
Dogs aren’t the only pets that can help you build an active lifestyle; indoor pets can do that too. For instance, exercise can also mean pulling a string along while your cat chases after it. Ensuring your pet’s needs are met – like providing food or cleaning the litter box for your cat – can also help you find the motivation to wake up earlier and keep being active.
Pets Reduce Feelings of Loneliness
You shouldn’t take for granted your pet’s companionship. They are right there for you whenever you feel lonely, providing comfort, devotion, and unconditional love. According to this survey, 80% of pet owners said their pets reduce their feelings of loneliness.
When you care for another living being, you get a sense of purpose. Besides, it helps you feel needed, socially fulfilled and contributes to your overall happiness.
Pets can also improve your social life, as they can help you meet new people. For instance, while walking your dog in the park, you can interact with other dog owners. A park isn’t the only place you can get to know other pet owners.
You can also meet them at a pet store, an online forum, or a training class. Whatever it is, your furry friend can be an exceptional ice breaker.
Pets Increase Your Wellbeing
Engaging in activities that spark joy can increase your happiness. Whether it’s walking or simply interacting with your pet, serotonin and dopamine are released in the brain during these activities, thus increasing your mood.
When people engage in activities that give them the chance to connect with others – even with a furry friend – their brain also releases oxytocin. This chemical has a positive effect as well, increasing their well-being.
Pets Can Help You Get Through a Crisis
Besides providing support for health issues – including mental health disorders, pets can also help you cope with a crisis or a personal trauma, such as bereavement.
Everyone experiences difficult times in their lives, but pets are there to make you feel at ease no matter what. In fact, studies have also shown the therapeutic effects of service dogs on people with PTSD.