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Pet ownership comes with a lot of responsibility, but it isn’t without its rewards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, as well as feelings of loneliness.
Here are just some of the positive health impacts of owning a pet:
Reduction of Stress
Pets show us unconditional love and provide us with a sense of purpose. Purring, tail-wagging, and other expressions of affection help people feel valued. The sensory experience of petting an animal can ease stress and help someone feel calmer. Pets also provide a level of stability and routine — which can help those who have mental health struggles.
Motivation to Exercise
Pets can motivate us to take better care of our bodies through exercise and socialization. Dogs in particular can help owners lead a more active lifestyle. Owners get more exercise by taking dogs on walks and runs. Exercise releases endorphins into our bodies, which helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also improves self esteem. It’s also been reported that heart attack survivors who own dogs live longer than those with the same conditions who don’t.
Increase in Social Opportunities
Dog walking creates opportunities for healthy social interaction, helping pet owners connect with each other. Many people are more comfortable engaging with someone who owns a pet than one without. Pets can act as a shared interest and be the basis for friendly conversation with new people that might not have otherwise been acceptable. Plus, if you take your dog to a dog park to they can interact with other dogs, you can interact with those dog owners.
For Seniors: A Sense of Purpose
People of all ages can benefit from owning a pet, but seniors especially. Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, first of all. Additionally, having a pet can reinforce a sense of purpose. This is extremely important to a senior’s quality of life and overall well-being. Pets can also provide comfort to those in poor health.
For Kids: Increased Responsibility
Children, and subsequently their parents, also experience unique benefits when family pets are in the picture. Animals naturally cultivate responsibility and kindness in children. For example, a trip to the veterinarian might be an opportunity to teach children about the importance of proper pet care and compassion for animals. Children with pets may be encouraged to develop an active lifestyle early on. Pets can even provide a safe audience to learn and develop new skills, such as reading or public speaking. Kids form special bonds with pets. Through these bonds, children can learn how to care for and connect with others.
Pets have been shown to help improve your health, so make sure to focus on theirs too! Take them to the veterinarian at least once a year, make sure they’re eating balanced food, and getting enough exercise.