An apple a day may or may not actually keep the doctor away, but what about an animal a day? Now, that's a different story. In fact, when it comes to pet ownership, there are a number of proven health benefits for people, including physical, mental and emotional improvements, from enhancing social skills to decreasing a person's risk of heart attack.
With almost no effort at all, pets manage to bring so much joy into our lives. They make us laugh, comfort us when we’re sick or upset, and are always there for us no matter what. Not everyone understands the bond between human and beast, though, or even realizes how much pets do for their owners.
Pets require attention and dedication, but those are small prices to pay for the amount of physical and mental benefits they bring into our lives. Here are 7 reasons why pets are great for your health:
1. They Help You Form Relationships
An often overlooked benefit of having a pet is that you’ll always have something to talk about with other people. Having a pet allows you to connect with other animal lovers. Even if you and the person you’re talking to can’t agree on anything else. The two of you might even be able to exchange advice about the best pet foods and training techniques.
2. Eases Pain
Believe it or not, pets can be the best medicine, especially when a person is dealing with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis. Just like Valium, it reduces anxiety. The less anxiety, the less pain. One study found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need significantly less pain medication than those who do not.
3. Pets Provide Entertainment
Pets are a great source of entertainment. They are living creatures that have habits, quirks, and personalities that can keep you laughing for hours. Dogs, cats, and birds are probably most known for having distinct personalities. The best part is that pet’s personalities can distract you from issues you are having, cause you to engage in more heart-healthy laughter, and keep boredom away.
4. They Can Improve Your Immune System
Pets spend a lot of their time outside and therefore bring all sorts of dirt and germs into your home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – the additional germs can help improve your immunity to colds and other mild illnesses. In fact, previous studies have shown that babies who live with a dog tend to experience fewer infections and are generally healthier than those who don’t.
5. Helps Fight Off Allergies
This one might seem totally backward, but it’s true. Despite the television commercials where pet owners break out into uncontrollable sneezing any time their cat or dog walks in the room, pets can actually help combat allergies. Children who are exposed to pet dander or any other animal allergens typically develop stronger immune systems. Even an adult’s immune system will become stronger after having been exposed to animal allergens for a certain period, and become capable of resisting other irritants.
6. They Act As Warning Signals For Serious Health Conditions
One thing many pet owners don’t know is that dogs can recognize the warning signs of a handful of diseases. Some dogs can detect when a person is about to have an epileptic seizure. Others can smell cancers in their owners. Still, other dogs have even been taught to notice signs of Parkinson’s disease or diabetes, and alert their owners accordingly.
7. Pets Help Reduce Stress
It has become very apparent that stress affects our mental and physical health and our world has become more stressful than ever. We live in a fast-paced world which demands our attention and can easily wear us out. There are certain methods to reduce stress, but one of the best is to own a pet. Pets provide support like a best friend because they are always available to listen, which can help you unload after a hectic day.
Looking after a pet is a big responsibility, but when you consider all the benefits above, they make all that hard work worthwhile. Whether you choose to keep a cat, dog, horse or hamster, they’ll make a great companion. In this post, I shared with you the 7 reasons why pets are great for your health.
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