Welcoming a pet into your home benefits the animal who no longer has to fend for itself in the wild. But the benefits go both ways, even positively affecting your health and wellness.
Here are some ways owning a pet is beneficial to your health and your life.
Reduced stress levels and less susceptibility to illness.
Studies show that simply petting a dog or cat can reduce heart rates and slow breathing. It increases production of the bonding hormone oxytocin while lowering cortisol levels. Less stress means a better immune system and reduced chance of getting the cold or flu.
Increased opportunity for outdoor activities
Without a dog begging for an evening walk, it may be tempting to just laze around the house at the end of a busy workday. Having an animal that you have to exercise will give you more time in nature exercising your own body and reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Due to the sometimes dizzying pace of modern life, our heart rate is often higher than it should be, even when we’re resting. The combination of reduced stress hormones and increased physical activity will benefit your heart health overall.
Decreased blood pressure
As with a healthy heart, your blood pressure will benefit from less stress and more exercise as you fit your pet’s needs into your own lifestyle.
Reduced risk of loneliness and depression
So far, we’ve looked at physical benefits. But mental health is just as important. Pets reduce the risk of depression (something that’s tied to stress and anxiety) and if you’re living on your own, it keeps the loneliness at bay.
Increased compassion for the weak and helpless
People who take care of animals learn very quickly to be patient with them. Caring for an animal helps you develop compassion for a creature that relies completely on you for its survival.
Bonus: kids learn responsibility
Children are, by nature, egocentric. Having a pet in the house that they are partially responsible for will teach them a vital life lesson that no amount of lecturing ever can. They’ll learn how to be responsible and caring, lessons that will take them through life.
You will reap many benefits from owning a pet. Just remember to take proper care of your HVAC system to keep everyone healthy (including your furry and feathered and scaled family members).