If you’re a pet owner, then you don’t need anyone to tell you how enriching it is to have a furry friend in your life. You already know that it’s a vast improvement with them around. But a lot of people don’t realize the genuine health benefits of having a pet or even regular interaction with friendly animals. Here are some of the ways they can improve not just emotional but physical health.
Cuddling your stress away
We all know that having a pet improves your mood (unless they’ve been particularly bad). But that has a much deeper impact that just helping you feel better. Coming in to get greeted by one very needy cat after a hard day feels great because it’s genuinely fighting stress. Even doing chores or work with a pet nearby has been shown to be less stressful than when doing it with a person. Beyond making you feel better, lowering your stress levels plays a big role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and even easing chronic pain.
Getting up on your feet
If you have a more active pet like a big dog or a horse, then you’re going to spend a lot more time on your feet looking after it. Whether you’re taking it for a walk, playing with it with a new toy, or riding it, people with pets tend to be more physically active than those without. In fact, it’s a common recommendation for people who have trouble finding their motivation to exercise to get a dog. There’s no avoiding taking them walks after all, not if you don’t want them going crazy with all that unspent energy.
The friends you make
Pets even make people more social. In particular, you are going to have people that you talk to about those pets because they’re a shared interest. But when walking a dog, for instance, you’re probably going to get stopped for a friendly chat more often than usual. Socializing is a crucial part of long-term mental health. But pets have some surprising social abilities. Some studies have shown that they are even effective in helping children with autism communicate. More pets are showing up in classrooms during unstructured playtime to help children with learning difficulties socialize.
Their use in therapy
Animals are even being used as a tool to help in therapy fighting mood disorders and addictions. A prime example is the equine therapy at Beachway, where caring for a horse and taking it for rides can prove substantially more helpful when other treatments prove to be ineffective. With learning disabilities, animals are proven to be seen as less threatening than a therapist visiting alone, which opens a better relationship between them and the patient. Even in nursing homes animals are used to combat the struggles with isolation and a lack of affection or acknowledgment that many older people feel.
There are very few treatments as effective in so many fields as a friendly animal. Besides allergies, there are very few reasons not to have them in your life.