10 Benefits of Having a Pet
Whether it’s a dog, cat, something smaller or aquarium bound, owning a pet can have a significant and positive impact on your life. Yes, they are a responsibility, and you do need to financially invest in their health and wellbeing, but owning a pet also brings so much joy.
If you are thinking of bringing a new pet into your home, then you are not alone, with an estimated 68% of households in the US including an animal friend. We take a look at 10 benefits of having a pet.
Pets can be wonderful companions, with research showing that they can also reduce the impact of loneliness, especially amongst the elderly and those who live alone. You can also have meaningful interactions with your pet, especially cats and dogs, who enjoy your company and come to see you as their pack… in other words, their family. They are also hugely beneficial for your mental health – think that cuddle on the sofa at the end of a tough day or the soft, soothing feel as you stroke their fur – and give you purpose and structure to your day.
Health and wellbeing
Pets really are good for your health, from boosting your activity levels to lowering your blood pressure. They also give your brain a good workout as you interact and ensure your pet has the very best life. And as most pet owners will tell you, their animal friend gets them up from the sofa and increases their activity levels during the day.
Dogs in particular need regular exercise, and give you a reason to get out, about and active every day. In fact, dog owners exercise on average 300 minutes a week, compared to 100 minutes completed by non-dog owners. And watching your pooch running around like a dufus and enjoying their best life is one of the best tonics you can have.
Can boost your heart health
Pet ownership can actually boost your heart health by lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of related cardiovascular diseases as well as strokes. Cats and dogs can help to relax their owner. On top of the increase in activity levels when caring for, playing with and exercising their pet, this can lead to improved cardiovascular health.
We all know that modern life can be stressful and are aware of the dangers of high levels of anxiety can have on our health as well as mental wellbeing. But owning a pet has been shown to help reduce the amount of stress we have in our lives, as well as providing a wonderful way to destress and unwind. Simply stroking your pet or watching fish in an aquarium can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure and bring some much-needed calm into your day.
Can make you more social
While you may see your furry bud as your best friend, owning a pet can make you more sociable too. Taking your pooch for a walk in the park can help you to meet new people and are a good way to strike up a conversation, especially if small talk is not quite your thing.
And research has shown that owning a pet can also make you feel more connected with your own human community and can help you to make strong friendships all round.
Can improve your immune system
With all the care and attention your pet requires, taking care of your animal friend can have a positive impact on your own immune system. Spending time outside with your pet, exercising your dog or mucking out your horse can also improve your resilience to bugs and germs, potentially increasing your immunity to colds and other minor illnesses. And owning a pet can possibly help prevent children from developing certain allergies (although you should be cautious of owning a pet if allergies are already present).
Help to keep you safe
As well as companionship, owning a pet can also help you to feel safe in your own home. Dog ownership in particular can be a good choice if home security is also a priority for you. Sometimes, just by having a noisy, active and inquisitive dog can make you feel safer as burglars can be less likely to target a house if there’s obviously a dog at home. And a canine is an excellent early warning system, especially if you have a breed that is a natural guarding dog. Having a dog you can take walking, running or exercising can also make you feel safer when out on your own.
Pet ownership can boost a child’s sense of responsibility, especially if it is their task to do the pet-related chores. Pet ownership can teach your children lots of important life skills too, such as discipline, commitment, care and empathy – all skills that will certainly stand them in good stead as they get older! And pets can be your child’s confident and non-judgmental best friend, especially if they have had a tough day.
Can boost cognitive function
As well as the brain power needed to correctly care for and support your pet, animals can also improve cognitive function and social interaction, which can be particularly beneficial for the elderly, people who live alone and individuals with learning disabilities. Regular interaction with pets such as cats or dogs can also lead to a reduction in agitated behavior associated with dementia.
And last, but by no means least is our final benefit – the joy of having a pet in your life. From sharing outdoor adventures with your furry friend, to simple cuddles on the sofa and the pleasure derived from caring for and watching your pet thrive, pet-ownership can be life-affirming. And with all the love and attention you lavish on your pet, you can be sure of one thing – that love will be returned, unconditionally.
So, there you have it, our top 10 benefits of owning a pet. From health and exercise, to combatting loneliness to boosting your brain power and easing stress, for many having a pet is a total win-win. All you now need to do is choose which pet is right for you!
Benefits of Owning a Dog PetSide
Science-based Benefits of Having a Dog American Kennel Club
Benefits of Pet Ownership Blue Cross
Benefits of Owning a Pet CNN Health