People who own dogs and cats can attest to the fact that their pets make their life better, bring them joy and happiness, and they couldn’t imagine their life without their furry friends. The benefits of having a pet go beyond just making us happy, however. Pet ownership has been proven to have many health benefits that can increase your lifespan and improve your wellbeing! Check out some of these amazing health benefits to pet ownership that you’ve probably never even thought about!
1. Stress Reduction
Pet’s have been proven through extensive research to help reduce stress. In a 2002 State University of New York at Buffalo found that people preferred having their pets with them during stressful task as opposed to their loved ones, family, or friends. One of the premier addiction treatment centers in the United States, Promises Treatment Centers, recommends to all its patients that they get a pet for emotional support and stress reduction, and even encourages patients to bring their pets with them to their inpatient facilities.
2. Lowers Hypertension and Blood Pressure
The Center for Disease Control claims that having a pet could potentially lead to lower blood pressure in the most at-risk patients as well as patients who are hypertensive. This links back to the pet’s ability to reduce stress which is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure and heart disease.
3. Relieves Anxiety
There’s a reason why so many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic Anxiety, Panic Disorders, and other mental health issues have service dogs. Dogs have an uncanny ability to help reduce anxiety, lower our heart rate, and regain our composure when anxiety is getting out of control.
4. Lower Cholesterol
Lowering cholesterol is particularly beneficial to people who want to lower their cholesterol because having a dog usually means you must maintain a more active lifestyle. Having a healthier lifestyle is probably the top health benefits of owning a pet because when you change your daily habits and make lifestyle changes, those changes are easier to stick with long term, especially when you have a dog that needs to go for walks daily. You can’t make excuses or say no!
5. Decreases Depression
Pet ownership makes us happy and feel good. When we are playing with our pets, cuddling with them, or just petting them or laughing at them being silly, our brains release chemicals that help us to feel happy. This is one of the reasons why so many people depend on pets like dogs and cats as emotional support animals.
6. Prevents Strokes
People who have cats are 40 percent less likely to have strokes according to Dr. Becker, a veterinarian who works with Good Morning America. Cat owners are also 30 percent less likely to have heart attacks and people who own dogs and have a heart attack are much more likely to still be alive a year later than those who don’t have any pets.
7. Diabetic Testing
Did you know that some dogs can be trained as service dogs specifically to detect dropping and low blood sugar levels in patients who are extremely diabetic? This isn’t just a skill that service dogs have, however. One third of dogs that live with diabetics will change their behavior when they sense their owner’s blood sugar dropping. The reaction is a response to the chemical changes the owner is experiencing in their body and a dog can often sense this change before the diabetic does!
8. Boost Immune System
One of the best health benefits of owning a pet for children is the building of immunities and prevention of allergies. Children ages five to seven who had pets in their homes attend school, on average three weeks longer per year that children who don’t have pets because children who don’t have pets get sicker more often.
Children that have pets are also less likely to develop allergies in the future and the more pets a child has the less allergies they will develop! Children who grow up on farms or in rural areas often grow up having no allergies whatsoever because animal dander acts as immunotherapy!
9. Child Development
Household pets have been proven to have many benefits for children aside from building immunities and the other physical benefits that have been discussed such as emotional development. Animals help children learn empathy, nurturing, compassion, and how to be expressive. Animal therapy has also been helpful in treating children with autism, ADHD, and other neurological disorders through sensory processing, learning routines, and focusing on responsibilities.
10. Cancer Screenings
There are some dogs that have recently been able to detect cancers such as breast, lung, colon, prostate, and other types of cancers just by smell. This kind of cancer detection would make testing much more affordable for patients and even more accessible in many cases. In fact, canines have been proven to be more accurate than PET scans and CT scans in cases of lung cancer according to research teams at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.When you think about all the great emotional, physical, and preventative benefits that having a pet brings to your life, getting a dog, cat, lizard, bunny, or other suitable pet seems like a no brainer. Pet ownership has so many health benefits you can even expect to have a longer, happier, and more stress-free life by introducing a pet to your household.