The Benefits of Having a Pet
How having a pet can actually improve your health
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
February 18, 2021
If you have one, you’re well aware of the rewards of having a pet in your life, but beyond the sheer joy they bring, there are multiple ways they actually improve your health and well-being. In celebration of National Love Your Pet Day, here are a few of them.
From taking your dog out for a walk to cleaning out the fish tank, pets require energy. Taking care of your pet is a great way to get some extra physical activity on a regular basis. A study found dog owners on average walk 22 more minutes per day compared to people without dogs.
The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes animal-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders because pets can have a positive effect on depression, releasing feel-good chemicals in your brain such as dopamine and oxytocin that make you feel happy.
Having a pet in your household can have positive benefits for your kids. A seven-year study of almost 500 children found that children who were exposed to dogs and cats as babies were half as likely to have allergies and risk factors for asthma as they grew up, than those who had no pets. Infants with more than one pet in the home had the lowest risk of allergies as well as hay fever or eczema.
Petting your animal or even just being around them can lower your stress hormone, cortisol, as well as your blood pressure, which is also good for your heart. Studies have found that people with cats were 40% less likely to have a fatal heart attack.
Helps Make Friends
You know the saying “dog is man’s best friend” but many don’t know that dogs can actually help you make friends, and not just dogs but other people as well. Researchers from the University of Western Australia, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition found pet owners were 60% more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighborhoods they hadn’t known before. They also found that having a pet can be a good icebreaker to spark up conversations.