With more and more people leaning towards depression and other mental health issues, having a pet may be just what the doctor orders. Here are 5 science-backed reasons a pet could be the best thing for your health.
1. Pets are Stress Relievers
A study conducted in 2012, indicated that pets impact their owners by helping lower stress levels. Numerous studies indicate the positive effects of pets on blood pressure. This is because your body’s production of cortisol or stress hormone is also reduced.
When you spend time with your pet, you are unknowingly releasing some of the tension and anxieties you feel. When they respond to you by nudging their heads or wagging their tails, you become overwhelmed with a sense of satisfaction and positivity. The more time you share with your pet, playing and forming that physical closeness, the less stressed you will be. This in turn impacts your mental health.
2. Pets are Great for Seniors
For the elderly, especially those living far from their families, having a pet can keep them mentally and physically active. It can also contribute to longevity and enhanced life quality.
The 2019 survey conducted by the University of Michigan showed that 73% of senior pet owners were provided a new sense of purpose by their pet. The feeling of being needed helps ease their loneliness and motivates them to take care of themselves better, knowing that a living creature is completely dependent on them. Additionally, the pets of older people become their gateway for continuous social connection. Through their pets, they make new friends from varying age groups. These are all positive contributors to healthy aging and why pets are considered the ideal “psychological deterrent to loneliness.”
3. Pets Make Your Heart Healthier
Pets are also good for your heart. They give you unconditional acceptance and support and also keep you physically active. Pet dogs especially need to be walked regularly to keep them in the best of health. This means that as a pet owner you need to go outside too. Part of walking the dog is socializing with other pet owners and making new friends.
Having a dog lowers your chances of having cardiovascular diseases because your pet promotes physical movement. It makes you mobile and physically active, so it is also healthy for your waistline.
4. Pets Are Therapeutic
Coping with trauma is very difficult, and it can negatively impact your life and well-being. A study shows that aside from cats and dogs, horses are also helpful in coping with distress and shock.
Mental health issues and even addictions have been known to have improved with the help of horses.
Equine therapy done by spending time with horses can help you rebuild your confidence, trust, communication, and impulse control. This is because horses, among all the other animals, give immediate feedback to the actions of their riders or handlers. Interacting with horses can also help lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
5. Pets Are Excellent Medical Assistants
This may be specific to dogs because they are known to have a powerful sense of your condition. If you suffer from epilepsy, your dog can sense a seizure is coming up. They can also sense a diabetic owner’s sugar level and whether it’s low or high. Your canine family member can even detect if you are sad, depressed, or about to have an anxiety attack. Many dogs are trained to get medicines for their owners or even dial 911 when needed. If you have a medical condition, your pet may just be your lifeline.
These 5 science-backed reasons a pet could be the best thing for your health may convince you to get a pet sooner or even give a pet to a loved one.