Companionship is a necessary aspect of life; humans crave it! Unfortunately, having a person to spend active time with, hash our problems out to, or binge-watch a series on Netflix with isn’t always attainable. Instead, enter man’s (and woman’s, respectively) best friend — a furry friend!
Here are the top five health benefits of owning a pet.
1. Reduce Stress
According to a study conducted by Hypertension back in 20011, individuals with high blood pressure who became pet owners were able to reduce their blood pressure without taking any medications. The same study suggested that pet owners who suffered a heart attack were more likely to live longer, due to the companionship their pet offered.
2. Promote An Active Lifestyle
Pets can keep us active, if we allow them to. According to PetMD, the average dog should be physically active between 30-120 minutes each day. For many owners, that means being active alongside their favorite furry friend. For the benefit of your health, as well as your pet’s, consider trying out some pet-friendly exercises, such as running, rollerblading, playing fetch or even getting in a yoga session.
3. Teach Owners How To Love
Any pet owner knows what unconditional love looks like; our pets offer this to us every day! Consider the way a dog greets its owner at the door: excessive panting, tail wagging and a burst of energy that would make any owner believe his/her pet has been waiting all day just for him/her to return home. This never-ending display of love from our pets inadvertently teaches owners how to treat their pets with the same admiration and love they receive.
4. Proponents of Mental Health
Truthfully, pets may not realize the affect they have on their owners. Nevertheless, studies have confirmed that owners who suffer from depression and/or anxiety are able to cope with their symptoms better than similar patients who do not own pets. Some patients may even be able to eliminate these symptoms altogether.
5. Pets Can Save Lives
While this is not a skill all pets possess, specialized domestic animals can detect illnesses and diseases in humans. For instance, service dogs have been trained to determine when a diabetic’s blood sugar has dropped below reasonable levels or if an epileptic patient is about to experience a seizure2.
The Strength of Pet Companionship
At the end of the day, the unconditional love a pet offers to its owner compares to nothing else on this earth. From the moment a pet bonds with its caretakers, an unbreakable relationship is forged. Oftentimes, this connection will remain for as long as the pet will live. For the human on the other side of that relationship, however, the attachment may transcend the pet’s lifespan, leaving its owner with loving memories that can last for ages.
1 Hypertension, Pet Ownership, but Not ACE Inhibitor Therapy, Blunts Home Blood Pressure Responses to Mental Stress, October, 1, 2001
2 National Geographic News, Seizure-Alert Dogs Save Humans With Early Warning Signs, February, 11, 2004
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