As any longtime pet owner will tell you, the companionship and joy that is brought to life by owning a pet is invaluable. Many of us who have grown up in homes with pets and had at least one in the course of our lives know no other way of living and can’t take for granted some of the many benefits of having this constant companion. Others may be unfamiliar with ownership but weighing the potential advantages of bringing a new pet into the home.
Whatever the case, it is important to know that there are some real benefits of owning a pet outside of the obvious companionship and responsibility. While most people have probably heard that owning a pet can be advantageous to your health, the majority of their knowledge rarely goes beyond traditional word-of-mouth or mainstream “common knowledge.”
But there have been numerous studies proving that pet ownership makes happier, healthier humans, and there is real science backing them up. In addition to the general benefits of longer lifespans and improved overall moods, many of the specific health benefits of owning a pet for an extended period of time have been proven. From lower cholesterol to decreased allergic reactions, there may be a specific health benefit of pet ownership that may be exactly what the doctor ordered (so to speak) for you or someone you know.
This article is designed to go over some of these benefits, defining and explaining the real ways how beneficial owning and building a relationship with a pet can be to your health. Whether you are considering owning your first pet or you simply want to remind yourself of why we love our furry friends, the following are some real examples of how the owner and pet relationship is mutually beneficial.
1. Fighting Allergies
Our list begins with one of the more surprising pros of owning a pet and one that seems to be counter-intuitive. But as it turns out, children that are born and grow in homes with a dog or a cat are less likely develop pet-related allergies, according to the research of James E. Gern, a pediatrician from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Furthermore, Gern’s research showed that children in homes with pets actually tended to develop stronger immune systems overall.
2. Improved Heart Health
While we all know that the love of a pet can fill your heart in a metaphorical sense, research has shown that pet ownership is actually good for your heart in a very literal way. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who own pets tend to exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and all of these are key risk factors for heart attacks. Additionally, dog owners who are recovering from heart attacks have shown better recovery patterns.
3. Improved Mental Health
No current pet owner needs to be told about the joy that they can bring, but research has consistently shown that owning a pet leads to reduced stress, increased moods in general and overall mental well-being.
4. Incentive to Exercise
Dog owners have a particular health advantage, as they already have an exercise buddy living in the house with them. In addition to daily walks, dogs naturally inspire additional exercise.
It is a well known fact that dogs need a lot of exercise in order to burn off excessive energy that could make them act out if not directed properly. So why shouldn’t you as well burn off all the stress that you accumulate throughout the day by exercising with your dog? “Dogs love to play,” says one expert from a major manufacturer of an automatic dog ball launcher, Fastdogs.org, “People with dogs are generally going to exercise more than those who don’t, simply by playing.” But if you don’t have the time to exercise with your dog, don’t worry. This automatic device will make sure your dog is exhausted once playtime is over.
Whether it is an improved immune system for your child, a healthier heart for yourself, more family exercise or a happier vibe throughout the home, simply owning a pet tends to make for healthier and happier humans in more ways than one.