benefits of having pets
Adorable creatures as they are, animals can prove to be of great help for your mental, physical and social well-being. Any pet owner can testify that their best friend is worth all the love and affection. Around 12 million British households choose to make the most of benefits of having pets. In case you are contemplating on getting a furry friend of your own then think no more! Pets provide many benefits to humans. Owing pets creates increased opportunities to exercise, venture outdoors, and socialize. Regular walking or playing with pets can provide a host of physical benefits like lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Studies have proved that the bond between pets and their owners are beneficial in the emotional well-being of humans. Pet companionship can reduce stress, ease loneliness, relieve anxiety, fight depression and bring happiness to their owners. Pets change lives in so many ways. They can be our best friends, confidants, motivators or in some cases – our lifeline!
1. Lifelong Companions
Having a pet is like having a friend wouldn’t judge you and will be there for you through thick and thin. They are indeed a man’s best friend. Although they cannot use words to communicate, pets are able to detect your mood shifts and know when to provide comfort. Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behaviour and emotions. On a dismal day, pets can provide the much-needed serotonin boost. They play the role of an ideal friend by always being there for us in our time of need. They can be our soulmates and companions for life.
2. Stay Fit
Having a pet is a huge responsibility to take on. They have to be groomed, bathed, fed and more importantly-walked. Studies have shown that pet owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements and exercising every day is great for the animal as well. Having a pet can encourage us to add structure to your day and build a healthy routine. Adopting healthy life changes is imperative to maintain physical fitness. Owning pets is a great stimulus for exercising and can help us inculcate a disciplined exercise regime. Taking a dog for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule. We have been told of the benefits of working out; but to name a few – lower risk of heart disease, healthier mind, tackling obesity and the issues rooting from it. All of this just by introducing a four-legged member in your family!
3. Mental Well-Being
Owning a pet can help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increase serotonin (“happy hormone”) levels in your brain. Modern times are stressful and high levels of competition can cause anxiety. Having pets helps us to reduce stress levels by providing numerous therapeutic benefits. A single session of stroking your canine, watching fish swim, feeding birds, caring for a cat or playing with a rabbit can significantly improve your mental health and promote healthy cognitive function. One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is the fulfilment of the basic human need for touch. Experiencing mutual affection with a loving pet can rapidly calm and soothe you.
With social distancing and lockdowns, we are confined to the perimeter of our houses. This can leave us alone and isolated from our loved ones. For many of us, pets are our sole companions. Loneliness can affect people of any age and can have detrimental effects on our mental well-being. Having pets for company can help find meaning and joy in life.
Educators have advocated the benefits of therapy animals in helping developmentally challenged children enhance learning, social and emotional skills. Children feel relaxed around their non-judgmental pals with paws which can accelerate their learning abilities and boost their mood. Pets are being trained as therapy pets to treat various mental illnesses and to provide therapy to those in hospitals, care homes and hospices.
4. Improved Immunity
It is scientifically proven that people who are around pets are less likely to fall sick. The reason being, pets expose us to bacteria around us which builds our immune system to fight diseases. Children in households with a pet have two types of bacteria in their bodies, Ruminococcus and Oscillospira, that reduce the risk of common allergies, asthma, and obesity, and they were less likely to develop eczema. While it’s no guarantee that owning a pet will stop your children from developing certain allergies, the evidence suggests the dander in their fur may help. However, it’s worth noting that you should never own a cat or dog if you are allergic to them – you won’t suddenly become immune!
5. Social-Life Boost
Good pet ownership comes with its fair share of responsibilities. Animals prove to be catalysts for budding new connections and preserving old ones. Pet owners are more empathetic and supportive towards the people in their lives. Pets and a thriving social life complement each other. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners, helping you start and maintain new friendships. Maybe the next time you take your pooch on a walk, you might strike up a conversation with a soon-to-be lifelong friend.
Among all types of pets, dogs are the first ones that pop in our mind whenever we think of security. They provide a level of unfettered loyalty which no human can provide. If you own a dog as a pet, you can count on them to protect you from any mishap. A dog’s loud impactful bark is enough to ward off anyone trying to breach the security of your home. They are alert and responsive at the sight of danger, so you can have a good night’s sleep. Pets can certainly make a house a home – safe heaven.