We do so much for our pets. We wake up in the middle of the night to take them out, we organize our schedules around them, and let’s be honest, they are a great distraction and so much fun to be around. But the great thing about our pets is they they also do so much for us in return. If you don’t already have one, or you just want a good reminder of why you love yours, here are 6 reasons why having a pet is good for your health:
- Walking Your Pet
Dog walking is an excellent preventative measure against heart disease. It’s a low-risk and low-intensity exercise, helping to slim your waistline while you soak up some vitamin D. To reduce the risk of heart disease, a minimum of 150 minutes of walk per week is recommended – that’s roughly 22 minutes a day.
2. Pet Your Animal
The act of petting can relax a reduce stress levels due to the body’s release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to emotional bonding. The owner and pet release oxytocin, which stabilizes a sense of calmness between the two.
“The simple act of petting an animal is known to cause a person’s blood pressure to drop.” – Alan Beck, ScD., Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pet ownership among single people has increased by 17% in the last 6 years. Pets provide companionship to individuals who live by themselves; the study suggests that singles are more likely to see their pets as family members because of the amount of support their companionship provides.
Pet owners often have the urge to socialize with other pet owners. Studies have shown that it is easier to meet people if you have a dog. These animals are often seen (and used) as social icebreakers that used as a prop, stir up conversation with others.
5. Boost Mood
Pet ownership can boost self-esteem and self-worth. According to the British Medical Journal, playing with your pet can raise levels of serotonin dopamine and decrease cortisol. The elderly are shown to reap the benefits of pet ownership. In a survey of Elderly Pet Owners Regarding the Benefits of their Pets:
95% said they talk to their pet each day
82% said owning a pet made them feel better when they were sad
65% said petting or caressing their pet made them feel better
57% said they told their fears and worries to their pet
6. Increase Longevity
People with pets live a happier, healthier, and longer life. Researchers found that patients discharged from a coronary care unit and who had pets at home, had a better survival rate for the next year compared to those who did not. For patients, the thought of having a pet provided, which, results show, could be associated with higher life expectancy.
If you already have a pet, go out and play with it – you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. If you don’t have a pet, volunteering at your local humane society allows you to reao the benefits of having a pet without the resonsibilities and it does some good in your community.
See more at Medical Daily