Have you ever found that being around your pet makes you happier and cope well with anxiety?
Many researches indicate that spending quality time with your pet can improve your emotions as well as your physical health.
Research indicated that living with pets offers health benefits. Pets can assist in reducing blood pressure and anxiety and help us be more immune.
Owning pets comes with significant health benefits, helping improve your mental health and state while preventing depression, stress and anxiety, and boost cardiac health, physical fitness, and social and emotional skills.
However, it is not a one-way deal. Taking care of the pet must go hand in hand.
Read on to find out how to best care for pets so they can contribute to your overall health and wellness.
How do Pets Contribute to Your Health and Wellness?
Researches show pets are good for any pet owner's mental and physical health, not only those with health issues like depression, cancer, or another condition.
Let’s check out some health benefits you get from your pet.
1. Increase Your Physical Activities
Taking your dog out for daily exercise or walks really adds up for dog owners.
Similarly, playing with a cat numerous times of the day will help get you off your feet.
Pet owners are less likely to be overweight since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise.
A survey indicates that dog owners, on average, take 2,760 more steps per day than people who do not have dogs, which adds about 30 minutes of moderate activity to your daily routine.
Following are the benefits of having physical activities with your pet:
- Physical activities with pets like walking, running, playing, etc., release endorphins, which can help you feel better and happier.
- It also increases the blood flow to your brain, improving your memory, helping you think more clearly, and protecting against brain disease.
- Walking your dog encourages you to get outside into your local environment and connect with nature.
- Spending time outdoors can improve your mood and boost your Vitamin D.
- Physical activity improves your mental health, immune system, and sleeping patterns.
Besides, unlike fitness centers and many organized workout groups, getting exercise with your pet is free.
2. Provide Companionship
The human-animal bond can be one of companionship and bring enrichment to the lives of both parties.
Whether you live far away from home, miss your near and dear ones, or go through breakups, pets are known to be great companions to decrease feelings of loneliness and reduce symptoms of depression.
Here are some valuable companions that pets provide:
- Coming home after a long, stressful day at work and being greeted by an overexcited four-legged friend can put a smile on your face.
- The sound of paws pattering on the floor and snuggling up on the couch with a purring cat on your lap is an instant reminder that you are not alone.
- Even research had found that people were less stressed when a pet was present with them than a friend or spouse.
- Likewise, patients recovering from surgery who receive Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) require less pain medication than those who do not experience this type of therapy.
Moreover, AAT has been used in various health care settings to improve patient’s quality of life and physical, social, emotional, and cognitive health.
A pet's companionship is a great defense against loneliness and mental health.
3. Good for Your Heart
Every year 659,000 people die from heart disease in the US. It is the biggest cause of death in the country, accounting for one out of four deaths.
Pets are cute and fluffy, but they serve a significant role beyond just being a companion. They would play a significant role in protecting your cardiac health.
By the way, pet owners are far more likely to meet daily exercise requirements that enable them to exercise and get a healthy diet regularly. This is crucial to reducing risk factors for heart disease.
According to a study, pet ownership is linked with a lower risk of death over the long term, possibly due to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Pet helps to reduce cardiovascular reactivity when the pet owners are stressed. That means their heart rate and blood pressure go up less and return to normal quickly, reducing the stress on the body.
Similarly, several studies have shown that heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without.
Similarly, according to Harvard Medical School,
People who own dogs live longer than people who do not own dogs, including heart attack survivors and people with major irregular cardiac rhythms.
4. Add Structure to Your Day
Pet rely on you to look after them, to keep them healthy and strong. This can help provide routine and structure to your day with their required walks, feedings, grooming, and exercise.
Following the pet’s routine enables you to get up early and start your day, which may help you take up responsibilities and time management skills.
They will be so thrilled to be outside once you have established a routine that they won't let you skip a day, rain, or shine.
Similarly, caring for a pet reminds us to care for ourselves as well. If we are not well, we cannot take care of our loved ones as well as we should.
5.Improve Mental Health
Pets can contribute to positive mental health by combating emotional sadness and isolation.
Feeling isolated or lonely for long periods can affect your sleep and energy levels, increase anxiety or depression and bring on physical illnesses such as migraine.
Whether it is comfort, cuddles, laughter, or physical activity, having a pet releases calming endorphins and oxytocin.
Getting a pet as a means of companionship that can combat
- Bipolar Disorder
- Stress Levels
- Improve Mood
Nowadays, pets can be used in therapy, helping to promote feelings of empathy, calmness, and relaxation for people struggling with depression and as a source of stimulation for the brain and body.
Based on one research, interacting with a dog is known to lower cortisol levels and help release the happy hormone, oxytocin, in your brain.
That is why animal-assisted therapy has such a substantial impact on mental health.
Check this infographic out for more information.
6. Improved Social Interaction
A survey indicates that pets can help create human-to-human interactions and social support suitable for long-term health.
Humans are social beings who thrive on social interaction with others daily. Taking your dog on socially-distant walks may collide with another person with the same vibe.
- If you see a stranger walking through the park, you are unlikely to have a conversation with them if you do not know them. However, if they have a pet, you might be able to.
- Similarly, pet-friendly events or veterinary visits can also help increase your social circle and make new friends due to the shared interest in pets.
- Dog owners are more likely to connect with people who live nearby because of their pets because it provides a common topic to talk about and helps counteract social isolation.
Similarly, if you have a social phobia or fear of social situations, a pet can help you gradually become a social animal.
Feeling connected to people plays a vital role in your mental well-being. Your mood can be improved by engaging in more positive interactions and strengthening your social network.
Pets can even help owners learn to be more sensitive and caring towards their human relationships.
7. Lower the Risk of Allergies
It may surprise you all being said that pets really do seem to prevent allergies.
But, it is true!!
The more dogs, cats, or other pets you live with as an infant, the lower your chance of developing asthma, contact allergies, skin inflammation, hay fever, eczema, and may increase immunity.
Even studies have found that having a pet early in life protects from allergies later in childhood.
Therefore, getting a pet is probably the last thing on your mind when you have a baby on the way, but it can be a big investment of time and money. It could be your child’s best defense against future allergies.
Besides, several researchers suggest that children who grow up with four-legged pets, cats, or dogs, will have a lower chance of contracting allergies and asthma.
The love and companionship from pets do wonders for your mental and physical well-being. When you adopt a pet, you are not only improving their quality of life, but you are also improving yours too.
Overall, the health and wellness that pets bring to our lives cannot be overestimated.
Get yourself a pet today, or consider adopting one to zest up your life.
Reach out to Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more.