Having and caring for a pet is hard work. You need to invest time, energy, finances, and commitment, which could be frustrating. However, one thing a lot of pet owners agree on is that pet care is worth the effort.
This is not surprising as pets, by nature, provide humans with a positive influx of energy that might not be present anywhere. Many pet owners attest to the immediate joy they derive from having a pet to care for. However, many people are not aware of the mental and physical benefits of caring for a pet. Recently, there have been studies and research to support various benefits of sharing a bond with an animal – a pet.
Over the years, many animals have evolved to be acutely attuned to humans’ emotions, activities, and behaviors. Dogs have superseded expectations by not only understanding some of our words, but they are skilled at deciphering our tone of voice, gestures, and body language.
In the same way, a loyal friend will understand your emotions by looking into your eyes; a loyal dog also does this to understand your thoughts and feelings. Your life will improve in many ways when you get a pet. Dogs and cats can significantly help reduce depression, stress, anxiety, fight loneliness, and encourage you to get fresh air. In addition, caring for an animal from a tender age can help kids grow up to be responsible adults with an improved immune system.
Here are five benefits you get from having a pet:
1. Supports Physical Fitness
It does not come as a surprise that dog owners are physically active compared to people without dogs. This is expected as dogs need walking, playing, and other activities. Dog owners have a pretty higher chance of getting the required physical activities every week, like walking, jumping, and running, compared to non-dog owners.
The presence of a dog makes it compulsory to squeeze physical activities into your schedule. As a result, every part of the body benefits due to these physical activities. For example, regularly walking your dog can reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and bring down the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Since pets require constant playing and other physical activities, it goes a long way to keep you active and to move. This is a good option for people dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Regular participation in such physical activity can improve strength, flexibility, maintain bone strength and keep joints lubricated.
Simple accessories essential for walking your dog are dog collars, dog leash, so it does not have to cost you a fortune. These accessories are a one-time investment, so they will not wreck you financially.
2. Pet Support Emotional Balance
Humans are not the only ones with moments of sadness, depression, boredom, or anxiety. They have their not-so-great moments, but they know that affection from their owner can go a long way to make them feel better. They know their owner will be there for them, which benefits both parties. The process of transferring love and attention to your pets makes you feel good and encourages the build-up of positive emotions in their owners.
As a result, pet ownership comes with an improved mood. Staying mad or depressed will be difficult when your cat jumps on your lap, or your dog stares at you with their mesmerizing eyeballs begging for a pat on their head. As a result, when you are not in a good mood, your pet can be the ticket to improving your mood. Focusing your attention on stroking and caring for them can remove your attention from the source of anger.
3. Pets Improve Your Health
There have been various studies over the past couple of years that support that owning pets positively affects individuals. For example, according to a US National Institute of Health study, pet owners visited doctors less often and needed fewer medical checkups and care than people without pets. People with a pet also could recover early from their surgeries and other serious illnesses compared to those without pets.
Humans with a pet are less likely to have a spike in blood pressure due to stress. Besides, according to studies, the possession of a cat significantly reduces the chance of having high blood pressure.
Based on a study by American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), more than 90% of pet owners in the survey revealed that they are aware of the health benefits of owning a pet and confirmed that it improved the quality of their life.
4. Pets Can Reduce Stress
Many people resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms to handle stress. This is not surprising as there are many stressors around us. Yet, excessive stress levels set the stage for various health issues like heart problems, type 2 diabetes, etc.
Pets have a way of helping us deal with stress effectively. Dogs, especially puppies, are usually lively and happy, which positively affects their owners. According to experts, the process of caring for pets can improve dopamine production in their owner – the brain hormones that control happiness.
Your pets will be forever there for you, loyal, and will never get tired of your whining. The process of stroking your pet can help you practice mindfulness, which can lift your spirit.
Mindfulness is another tactic people resort to in a bid to combat stress. A simple action like brushing their coat, walking your dog, etc., helps you focus on the moment, making it easy to let go of the various worries that could be weighing you down.
5. Good Source of Companionship
Many people have a strong emotional tie to their pets. However, they are more than pets as they serve as a confidante and closest friend, who is always there for us. You never feel alone with a pet, and it serves as the perfect companion even in the most awkward social situation.
Based on research, spending a couple of minutes every day interacting with a pet can increase the body’s serotonin level – the feel-good hormone. Not only does this hormone make you feel good, but it also combats depression in humans. In addition, the presence of a pet gives people a sense of security and purpose, which is essential to dealing with mental health issues like depression.
Everyone can benefit from this interaction as it helps fight loneliness and other health issues.
Having a pet sure comes with extra responsibility. However, it is a small price to pay for various health benefits that come with caring for a pet.
Owning a pet can be the best thing to happen to you when considering the series of positive effects and health benefits.