People adopt or buy pets, more specifically cats and dogs for a plethora of reasons. Dogs and cats have been known to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, as well as encourage more exercise and playfulness, ease loneliness and even improve your overall cardiovascular health.
When caring for an animal, no matter what kind, it can actually help children grow up more active and secure. The same goes for older adults, as pets can provide invaluable companionship in their senior years. However, most importantly, having a pet provides genuine joy, love and happiness to your life.
Health benefits of owning a dog
As we mentioned above, owning a pet provides you with some seriously powerful health benefits. Here we have some ways how caring for a dog, cat or any other animal can help to relieve stress, depression and anxiety, as well as improving your overall heart health.
Many pet owners are clear about the immediate joy that comes with sharing their lives with their furry companions. Although, some of us still remain oblivious to the mental and physical health benefits that a simple cuddle with our pets can provide.
And it is only recently that studies are beginning to be conducted to further scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond.
Throughout the many, many years, pets have specifically evolved to be highly attuned to humans and our weird behaviors and emotions.
Take for example dogs, they are able to understand many of the words we use, and they are even better when interpreting our tone of voice, body language and even our gestures.
They are called man’s best friend for a reason. As with any good human friend, a loyal dog companion will look into your eyes to interpret your emotional state and try to understand what you are thinking and feeling at the moment.
Most pets, specifically cats and dogs, have major health benefits like reducing stress, anxiety and depression, easing loneliness, encouraging more exercise and overall playfulness, as well as improving your overall cardiovascular health. These are just some of the benefits we have mentioned.
Scientifically proven health benefits of owning a dog
As for the studies that have been done on the subject matter, here’s some of the things they’ve shown:
- Many pet owners are found to be less likely to suffer from depression compared to people without pets in their lives.
- Pet owners are shown to have lower blood pressure in stress inducing situations compared to their pet lacking counterparts. And one study even has shown that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure lowered significantly within five months of having a pet.
- When playing with an animal, whether it be dog, cat or other, your levels of serotonin and dopamine significantly increase, which will in turn make you feel calm and relaxed.
- People who own pets are found to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which are indicators of heart disease, rather than those that do not have pets.
- Many pet owners over the age of 655 make 30 percent less frequent visits to their doctors than those who do not own pets.
A significant reason as to why we experience these therapeutic effects when in the presence of pets is that it fulfills the basic human need for touch.
It has been shown that even hardened criminals in prison have long term changes in their behavior after simply just interacting with pets, with many of them experiencing a sort of mutual affection for the first time in their life.
Whether it be stroking, hugging, petting or simply in any way touching a loving pet can quickly calm and soothe your nerves when you are experiencing stress or anxiety.
In addition to that, the companionship you get from owning a pet also aids in easing loneliness, many, if not all, dogs are a great incentive for more healthy exercise, which in turn can significantly boost your mood and ease your depressive state.
Here we have rated the best dog breeds for new owners.