Sure, they’re cute and all, and who doesn’t like a bit of unconditional love, but did you know that having your four-legged friend around you can actually benefit your well-being immensely? Whether it’s a cat or a dog (or even a poison dart frog or a hamster) around can greatly improve your quality of life. It can help on both an emotional and physical level in numerous ways. So, what are you waiting for? Head down to the shelter to adopt a furry friend today. It will:
1. Lower your blood pressure. Having a pet has the potential to lower blood pressure particularly in high-risk and hypertensive patients. Studies have shown that having a dog around the house actually correlates to having a lower blood pressure.
2. Decrease your stress levels. A study conducted at State University of New York at Buffalo found that when put into normally stressful situations, the subjects of the study actually experienced less stress when their pets / animal were nearby than when they were close to a spouse, family member or close friend. Addiction centres also even encourage pets in rehabilitation facilities because of their stress busting benefits.
3. Lower your cholesterol. If you’re looking to boost your heart health, then you have another reason to have a pet. People who own pets, particularly men, have significantly lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than those without them.
4. Ease your pain. Though we hear time and time again how laughter is the best medicine, it turns out that pets, in fact, may be the best medicine, particularly when someone is dealing with chronic pain like arthritis or migraines. Having pets reduces anxiety, and the less anxiety you have, the less pain you feel. People who engage in pet therapy while recovering from surgery often need significantly less pain medication than those who don’t.
5. Improve your mood. Many of the health benefits of owning a pet, whether physical or emotional, actually stem from the mental benefits. As soon as they see you, your pets treat you as if you are the most important person in the world. They are even used to help soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, helping to reduce the suicide rate, which is one of the biggest health threats veterans face. People who have pets tend to be less harries and to laugh more. It feels good to be responsible for someone who cares about you and whom you don’t have to explain yourself to.
6. Prevent strokes. Dogs get most of the attention, but let’s not forget about our feline friends. Studies show that if you have a cat, you’re 30% less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40% less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke. If you have suffered from something like this, it turns out that having a cat or a dog ensures that you are significantly more likely to be alive a year later.
7. Help you socialise. Though you might think that having a pet might turn you inward, as you can get love and affection easily at home, but having a pet actually increases your opportunities to socialise. Take your dog to the park for a walk, and you will undoubtedly run into a handful of people to stop and talk to. Studies have shown that pet ownership increases social contact and socialisation within neighbourhoods.
8. Prevent allergies and improve immunity. Young children who grow up in pet-owning households actually attend school three more weeks per year than those who don’t have pets. The earlier in life you own pets, the fewer allergies you tend to develop.