Animal Care

Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Senior FosteringWe all know that having a pet is great, there is the unconditional love you receive off them and they are great fun to play with and you never know what funny things they will do next. However did you know that pets can provide excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits—perhaps more than people!

Pets can improve your Mood

For anyone who is a pet owner or loves animals you know how hard it is to stay in a bad mood when those loving eyes look up at you or they come to you looking for a cuddle.   Studies have shown that owning a pet can help to ease symptoms of depression. Pets may help relieve stress and anxiety by encouraging playfulness and promoting laughter, there is nothing better than playing with your pet irrelevant of what type of pet it is and watching their funny reactions.

Many experts believe one reason pets may have a therapeutic effect on people is comfort. They are soft, soothing to stroke and non-judgemental. Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. Pets also seem to meet the need for companionship and relationship building that is not always available to some individuals. In addition, pet owners living alone say they are less lonely and report fewer minor health problems.    

A study published in the March 1999 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that senior citizens who own pets are less likely to be depressed, are better able to tolerate social isolation and are more active than those who do not own pets. Activity levels increased regardless of the kind of pet the individuals owned.

Pets can improve your physical health

Anyone who owns a pet knows the unconditional love a pet offers. But do you know that your blood pressure and triglyceride and cholesterol levels may be lower because of that unconditional love, which in turn might promote a measure of protection from heart disease.

Pet owners are also more likely to survive a heart attack than those who don't have pets, according to a 1995 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

A study on a group of stockbrokers with high blood pressure, those with pets had lower blood pressure and heart rates than the proportion of the group that didn’t own a pet. After the results of the study were published most of the stockbrokers without a pet went out and got themselves a pet.

Having a pet has even been shown to give 30% less chance of developing certain types of cancer.

Pets encourage you to get out and exercise

Dogs have to be walked each day and dog owners get regular physical exercise because of this, there are some many options now where you can walk, by the sea, the park, the mountains, etc – what could be better. People often bring other people with them including family members for the dog’s walk so it can benefit family and friends as well.   Other pets get you moving as well, though not as much as walking, you may sit down in your comfy couch and think I will do the hoovering tomorrow but most pet owners don’t put off their pet care – they will clean the birds cage, rabbit hutch when it needs to be done, play with their pets as no sometimes is not in your pets vocabulary when it comes to playtime, it is hard to resist them when they bring their toy over to you and look at you longingly.

Exercise relives tension and stress so there is mental benefits from exercising with your pet as well.

Increases Human to Human Socialisation

Anyone with a dog knows that when you are out and about with your dog, you will always talk to someone whether they have a pet or not. A fellow dog owner will stop and talk to you, people just walking along may stop and say hello to your dog and you. Out walking or in a dog park your pet may make a friend and in turn so might you!

It’s important to realize that owning a pet isn’t for everyone. Pets do come with additional work and responsibility. However, for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks.

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