In addition to companionship, pets can provide owners with numerous other health benefits, both psychological and physical. The following are some of the benefits of owning a pet.
- Relieves Stress – Pets are often used to help individuals manage high stress levels. Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stressed out students, and anxious children are just a few groups that experience less stress in the presence of a pet.
- Encourages Physical Activity and Being Outdoors – Whether it’s running, throwing a Frisbee, or simply walking, dogs encourage owners to get outside and move. Physical activity paired with being outdoors carries numerous other health benefits such as improving mental health and reducing stress.
- Boosts Heart Health – Pets can also boost owner’s heart health, perhaps as a result of the increased physical activity that they promote. Owning a pet may also result in lower risk of obesity, lower blood pressure, less stress, and lower cholesterol levels—all of which can have a positive impact on the heart.
- Fights Allergies – Interestingly, pets can serve as a barrier against allergies. Researchers suspect growing up with pets strengthens the immune system and helps children build immunity against pet allergens and bacteria.
- Promotes Social Interaction – Social connections are essential to our long-term health. Often times, people have a difficult time creating and maintaining relationships. Fortunately, pets serve as a great facilitator for making new connections and building social support, both of which are vital to our health.
- Improves Emotional Health – Emotionally healthy people are resilient, self-confident, and capable of developing strong, healthy relationships. Pet owners tend to have higher self-esteem, be more extraverted and less lonely, be less preoccupied, and be less fearful of everyday life challenges.
- Keeps Us Present – Pets serve as constant reminders to live in the moment because it is the only way they know how to live. While us humans ruminate over the past and worry about the future, pets simply live in the here and now.