Having a furry friend can really improve your life as you know it. As pet parents you already know about unconditional love and companionship, but did you know that your pet offers more than just company and snuggles?
In fact, owning a pet can positively impact both your mental and your physical health in the following 4 ways:
1. Reduces stress & anxiety
Have you ever wondered why animals can become registered as “emotional support” or “therapy” animals? Well it’s simply because it’s been proven that they can improve your emotional welfare. Many studies have shown that interacting with animals can decrease our cortisol levels, which is the body’s primary stress hormone which helps reduce anxiety, and boost your overall mood. Did you know that playing with your pet has been shown to elevate levels of feel-good hormones? It’s true, our levels of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin elevate to boost our sense of happiness. These stress and anxiety-busting effects our pets can naturally provide us can be beneficial to anyone, but they are especially precious to adults with certain conditions like PTSD.
2. Improves heart health
Owning a pet has also been linked to having better heart health. Research shows that pet parents tend to have lower blood pressure which could be due to the calming effect pets have on us or because pet parents tend to get more exercise because of their pets. Regularly going for walks or playing with your pets has been proven to improve cholesterol levels, and by doing so, can potentially reduce the risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or any signs of cardiovascular disease, according to the CDC. Dog ownership specifically has been associated with decreased risk of heart disease, and a reduced risk of death from having a heart attack.
3. Decreased Feelings of Loneliness
When you’re feeling lonely, there is no doubt that your pet can provide a great sense of relief, love, and affection. Their love is unconditional and they express it in their own ways. Did you know that caring for another living being can actually give you a sense of purpose and help you feel desired, and overall much happier?
Pets can be a great way to become more social too. You may find yourself chatting it up with other dog walkers or pet parents at the park. Another way that pet parents socialize is in online forums, training lessons, and even while shopping at the pet store. Either way, we’ve found that having your furry companion by your side can be a great conversation starter.
4. Increases Exercise and Physical Activity
As a pet parent it’s known that you’ll be getting more exercise. Like humans, our pets require lots of physical activity through daily walks and playing, especially dogs. Physical activity plays a role in both our mental and physical health. Cats even require playtime each day and you can get in some exercise yourself by getting a toy you can control and your cat will chase after. Our pets should be our motivation to get out of bed earlier. This is when we can provide food and fresh water for them, take them out on a walk, and play with them which in turn helps us continue to be more active.