Most people buy a pet for companionship reasons, or because they had pets as children and got used to having animals around the house – or even on impulse, because a kitten or puppy is just incredibly cute. In short, they are not particularly thinking about their health when they bring a pet into their home. There are, however, some excellent “side effects” of pet ownership that can make it even more attractive.
One of the aspects of depression to deal with is the feeling that life or you yourself have no value. However, the unconditional love which pets bring to someone’s life can go a long way to eliminating this feeling and can help to elevate one’s mood. Also, being responsible for the care of another living creature can bring back a sense of value and importance.
Nourish the Heart
Research conducted by the American Heart Association found that those who own pets have reduced risk of heart disease versus non pet owners. Partly this is because walking a dog daily brings with it an increase in activity level, but it is also because sitting quietly and petting a cat or dog lowers the blood pressure and heart rate.
Ramp Up Activity
Pet owners, especially those who own dogs, tend to take frequent walks with their furry companions and also participate in activities like playing the park. While this may feel more like fun that exercise, it does count towards activity levels and can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce diabetes risk.
Pets are one of the best sources for companionship and unconditional love and simply having these things in one’s life can go a long way to relieving feelings of anxiety or stress. Many people can come home from a rough day at work, for instance, and use a walk with their dog as a way to decompress. This has a strong positive impact on emotional health.
This may surprise many people, but children who grow up with animals actually have a decreased risk of allergy development. It is theorized that this is because exposure to the allergens of pets during childhood actually strengthens the immune system.
Increase Social Time
For people who might find it difficult to get out and meet or talk with others, pets are a great way to break the ice and increase social interaction. Multiple studies have shown that those who own pets tend to have greater amounts of social time in their lives than those who do not.
When all the benefits mentioned above are taken in the aggregate, they can amount to a much better overall quality of life. The sense of well-being that comes from being around pets can keep your vital signs in a healthy range, benefit general health and lead to living longer.
So, while most people do not choose to have pets because of their health benefits, the positive impact that they can have on someone’s emotional and physical wellbeing is not in any doubt. It is a great side effect of pet ownership!
More From Mayimina