They're furry, cuddly, soft, and adorable. According to the ASPCA, about 79 million Americans own them.
Whether you have a floppy eared, slobbery mess of a dog at home or a sassy feline sharing your bed, you probably don’t need anyone to convince you to keep them. But did you know there are real health benefits to pet ownership?
For thousands of years, humans have walked the earth with their favorite animals by their side, so it’s no surprise we evolved to like each other’s company. Who would have thought our relationship offers more benefits than just pastime fun?
Well, it turns out, it does. Here’s five benefits you enjoy just by owning a pet.
1. Decreased Blood Pressure
Work have you stressed? Then pet your pet! Research shows that pet owners reduce their blood pressure simply by spending time and touching their pet.
2. Reduced Anxiety and Depression
In a more serious arena, pets can also help Veterans and those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by reducing the anxiety they feel. Multiple studies have shown that pets can help individuals with anxiety and depression by elevating their mood. Other studies have proven that having dogs in the workplace reduces stress for employees. Most of us agree that a puppy or two at work couldn’t hurt, especially on Mondays.
For those experiencing depression, pets can help with loneliness and feelings of negative self-worth. A dog’s smile or a cat’s purr can be enough to get those with severe depression out of bed in the morning as well.
3. Prevent Allergies
While it might seem counterintuitive, researchers have revealed that growing up with pets in the home can help children develop a stronger immune system against pet allergens and bacteria. One 2011 study also showed that children who grow up with a cat or dog in the home tend to be less allergic to them later in life. This is great news for families considering getting a dog or cat.
4. Improved Social Life
Dogs, in particular, help their owners get out of the home and meet new people. Most major cities offer bars and restaurants where pets are allowed, plus plenty of off-leash parks for them to romp around in. While they’re romping, pet owners can socialize.
5. Increased Physical Activity
Pets can give us a reason to head out for a walk or run, especially if they’re high-energy. According to one study by the American Heart Association, dog owners are 54 percent more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise than non-dog owners. Whether playing frisbee, walking around the block, or playing at the park dogs increase physical activity for their owners.
There are countless other reasons to love your pet.
Tell us in the comments why you love being a pet owner and let’s keep the conversation going!
Author: Alanna Sharp