GUARANTEED HEALTH BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET
Speak to any pet parent and they will reel off an endless list of ways that animal companions can change lives. Pets can be our best friends, confidants, motivators and even our teachers. In many cases, they also improve our wellbeing and health. For some people, pets are quite simply a lifeline.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
It’s true, pets really are good for your health – and the medical benefits have long been lauded. Having a dog improves fitness as it encourages you to get out walking more, and even playing with your dog or cat indoors when you’d otherwise be lying idle on the sofa can loosen up those limbs and get the blood pumping around your body. Horse ownership brings with it plenty of exercise too, and is often used as a form of rehabilitation and therapy for those with injuries or disabilities. Staying fit and active, whatever your age, helps to prevent a whole host of illnesses, and pets give people that motivation to keep moving.
Various pieces of research also suggest that merely stroking a pet can lower blood pressure, therefore reducing the likelihood of heart problems or strokes. Studies have even produced evidence showing that children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop allergies. And then there are dogs that have been known to sniff out life-threatening diseases. Pets are, undisputedly, the very best medicine.
PETS CAN HELP YOU MAKE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Adopting healthy lifestyle changes plays an important role in easing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Caring for a pet can help you make healthy lifestyle changes by:
All breeds of dog need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we! However, we sometimes have the tendency to get a bit lazy – if that sounds like you, a dog is the perfect cure! They’ll be dragging you out the front door and making you run around the park each and every day. Yes, a dog is possibly the best personal trainer you could ask for.
Work from home, quarantine, and multi-tasking became the new normal last year. But when our furry friends came to cuddle after a long day, things seemed fine for some, and some agreed that spending time with their pets helped them cope with stress. While the health benefits associated with having a pet are well-known to experts, many pet parents experienced their beneficial effect first-hand during the lockdown.
Companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to your life, while isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression. If you live by yourself, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get awfully lonely at home – unless you have a pet, of course! Cats and dogs make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home and they’ll be happy to lend an ear should you want to moan about the awful day you’ve had. Plus, most of the time, they’re up for a snuggle on the sofa.
HELPING YOU MEET NEW PEOPLE
Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners, helping you start and maintain new friendships. Dog parents frequently stop and talk to each other on walks, hikes, or in a dog park. Pet parents also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
The companionship of an animal can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. Because pets tend to live in the moment—they don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow—they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present.
ADDING STRUCTURE AND ROUTINE TO YOUR DAY
Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps an animal balanced and calm—and it can work for you, too. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—one plaintive look from your pet and you’ll have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for them.
THEY CAN PROVIDE COMPANIONSHIP TO CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
Children with autism and similar learning disorders often find it difficult talking to fellow human beings, but they have no problem at all with chatting away to friendly animals. After all, your pets can’t answer back and will always keep your secrets!