As most pet owners will agree, our furry four-legged friends are more than just faithful companions - they are part of the family! But the benefits of being a pet parent far exceed unconditional love and enthusiastic greetings every time you walk in the door. We take a look at the many physical and emotional benefits of sharing your life with a pet.
- Pets may help you live longer:
According to a 2017 study in Sweden, having a dog may lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases or other causes. Compared to people who lived alone, dog owners decreased their risk of death by 33%, and their risk of cardiovascular-related death by 36%.
- Stress Relief:
Studies have shown that pet owners, in general, have lower stress levels than their pet-less peers. In addition to this, pet owners were documented as experiencing less stress when conducting a high-pressure task than if they were accompanied by a human family member or close friend!
Further studies involving the placating effect of animals on humans quickly led to many psychologists recommending therapy dogs to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder patients. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, spend some down time with your pup!
It’s not only your paw-some pup that is good for stress relief! Studies show that hearing your cat’s purr lowers blood pressure, stimulates compassion and soothes anxiety.
- Lower Blood Pressure:
Chronic high blood pressure can lead to a myriad of dangerous health conditions. Various studies have shown that being around pets (dogs in particular,) can positively influence blood pressure levels.
- Less Pain:
The dopamine and serotonin released when interacting with a beloved pet can have a soothing effect on pain. These feel-good hormones coupled with lower anxiety levels can equal some relief from painful afflictions such as migraines and arthritis.
- Alleviating Allergies
According to a 2011 study, owning a pet may protect children from developing pet allergies later on in life. The study explains that children who are exposed to a cat or dog in their home from infancy will be far less likely to be allergic to cats, dogs or any type of pet allergens in their adult life. This isn’t the only reason why you should consider getting a furry friend for your little one – studies show that children who grow up with pets are also more emotionally intelligent and empathetic, more responsible, and may know how to express themselves better.
- Happier and Healthier Emotions:
Compared to non-pet owners, research by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that pet owners were more confident, resilient, extraverted and happy. Pets boost our oxytocin levels, which in turn enhances our social skills, boosts our immune function and lowers our stress, anger and depression levels. In addition to this, pet owners were reported to feel less depressed after an embarrassing incident, or one where they may have been rejected.
A separate study on the psychological benefits of owning a pet showed that elderly patients with dementia, depression or psychosis reported a decrease in depressive symptoms after living with a cat or dog for six weeks. They also showed an improved perception of the world and better cognitive functioning
Make sure you can give your pet safe, quality healthcare in the event of illness or an accident. Get in touch with Oneplan Pet today to find out about affordable, hassle-free pet insurance.