4 MIN READ | Mental Health

8 Unexpected Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Dennis Relojo-Howell

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Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2020, April 7). 8 Unexpected Health Benefits of Owning a Pet. Psychreg on Mental Health. https://www.psychreg.org/health-benefits-owning-pet/
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You probably know the joy of being greeted by your pet at the end of the day. Their radiant and calming presence can elevate your mood and lower your stress in a matter of seconds.

What you maybe weren’t aware of are other, very specific physical and psychological advantages that your pet will provide. Here are the 8 main benefits of having an animal companion in your life.

Reduces stress

It is well established by now that pets play a huge part in managing high levels of stress, like PTSD or any kind of anxiety disorders. People that experience stress at work on a daily base have reported a decrease of stress after introducing a pet into their life.

We are not talking just about household pets. Animals (mostly dogs) have also been trained and brought to hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.For all of those reasons, it is no wonder animals can play a crucial role in therapy and therapeutic practices.

Increases immune system and prevents allergies

Primarily, we are not talking about preventing allergies in adults. Getting a pet later in life will not have any impact on already existing allergies. 

Studies conducted by Pet Fashion Week have shown that children who are growing up in households with pets have better chances of developing a stronger immune system and resistance to allergies. Exposure to animal-related dirt and hair from an early age can help them build immunity against pet bacteria that can even protect them later in life.

Helps with social interaction

It is not easy for everyone to engage in social interaction, even (or maybe especially) when it comes to small talk. Your pet can be a perfect conversation starter!

Walking your dog around the neighbourhood increases your chances of establishing social communication. You might think this benefit refers exclusively to dog owners, but that is not the case. 

Obviously, it is easiest for dog owners to form social connections on their daily walks but there are other ways to connect to other like-minded people. For example, posting photos of your pets on social media is a simple and effective way to start up a discussion.

It is also known to improve social skills of children with autism. Service dogs are trained to aid and, in this case, even calm the child down if necessary. But other pets like cats and rabbits can also help them to communicate and bond with others more easily.

Beneficial for kids and older people

We talked about some health benefits that pets could have for the development of the immune system in children. Now we can mention what kind of impact can animals have on their emotional growth.

First of all, pets can help improve their social skills. Connecting with animals could aid kids in relating better to people around them. They learn how to communicate and express themselves in numerous ways. Also, caring for a pet teaches them routine, responsibilities and focus.

When it comes to our elderly, there’re two main positive sides of getting a pet: companionship and physical activity. Having a pet could be a powerful stimulus for daily walks and activities. Pets are perfect assistants in maintaining your mental and physical health, well into your golden age.

But just as much as pets help your health, you should also strive to keep their health in check, as well. Consider insuring your pet so you’re always covered in case they need any medical attention.

Keeps you active

Being surrounded by nature, getting fresh air and sunlight are extremely important factors in achieving a healthy lifestyle. What better way to spend that time than with your pet.

Walking, running and playing will keep you and your pet entertained, relaxed and happy. And in those days you might struggle to motivate yourself to stay active, no doubt your dog will provide you with the push you need. An outdoors routine full of activities will also do wonders for your mental health and emotional stability.

Maintains emotional balance

In those moments of self-doubt, depression or loneliness there is a certain dose of consolation and reassurance that a pet can provide. 

Just a close, non-verbal presence of your dog, cat or some other type of pet might be enough to improve your state of mind.

Always upgrading and working on yourself isn’t easy, but with some help, you can unlock the many benefits that come with emotional balance. Being around your pet elevates your level of serotonin and dopamine, which will make you more equipped for dealing with everyday challenges.

Improves heart health

Pursuing an active lifestyle and calmer mindset plays such a big role in reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

It is all connected. Fresh air and walks, lower stress levels, emotional balance, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, all of it has an impact on our general health. And, it is definitely easier keeping those things in check with a loving pet by your side. A research conducted in 2017 found a connection between reduced cardiovascular risks and dog ownership. 

Relieves pain

In certain situations, pets can be the best medicine. When it comes to chronic pains like migraines and arthritis pets can be there by your side, relieving the pain.

How does that actually work? The key is reducing anxiety. The less anxious you are, the less pain you will feel. Focusing on the soothing presence of an animal can help your calm your nerves and achieve serenity.

Takeaway

It becomes obvious just how closely interwoven all these benefits are.  Also, it is a reminder of the enormous influence animals have on our health and lives in general. The influence that we can sometimes take for granted.

Hence, it is important that we take good care of their health as much as our own. Give them the best that you can so that they can stay longer with you. If your furry friend has sensitivities, this review by Well Pet Coach will help you make an informed choice.

If you were on the fence about introducing a furry friend into your life, perhaps reading about all the positive benefits will overshadow any potential doubts you might have.


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.

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