Caring for a pet can be a wonderful thing to be a part of. Not only are you helping them out by giving them a place to stay, and a loving family, but did you know that they could help you out as well?
Pets can be beneficial to ones health and social life. Let's look at some of the benefits of having a furry friend (or feathery, scaley, or...exoskeletony...)!
1. They can help inprove your social life
Having trouble meeting people? How about getting a dog to help you socialize? Owning a pet can help break the ice, and could be an instant topic for conversation. Of course, many people would refrain from getting a pet solely for this purpose, as it could been seen as selfish, but this is one of the many benefits when you own a pet.
There are plenty of places to go to mix and mingle with your furry friend:
Training classes: Have a new puppy that needs a little help being trained? Take him or her to a class. You'll meet people who are on the same boat as you.
Parks: Of course, some parks don't allow pets, but if they are allowed to come with you, take your pet to a dog park. Your dog will be able to mingle and so will you.
Cafes: Many cafes will allow you to bring your dog with you, and even offer pet-friendly foods on the menu.
2. They're good for your heart
Of course, pets could teach us compassion and empathy, but did you know they could actually improve the overall health of that organ as well?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Health (NIH) both conducted experiments on people who own pets. Their studies show that people who have bonds with their pets have deacreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, which are all factors in a heart attack. For people who have already experieced a heart attack, people with an animal compainion have higher recovery rates. Overall, a pet can lower your stess rates and help you relax.
3. They can help you get fit
Besides all the internal benefits, they can help you get active too. Walking a dog is a daily chore that could also be good for you. It can help you get the exercise you and Fido need to stay fit and healthy. Think of your dog as your personal trainer.
According to studies conducted by Wellness Institute at Northwest Memorial Hospital, as long as you're holding the leash and walking your dog, they can help you maintain, and even lose weight, along with lowering your stress levels, which can also be a factor in being overweight.
4. They can ward off feelings of depression
Owning a pet can keep you happy. Like babies, pets can give you a sense of purpose, which is one of the most common reasons for feeling depressed. Along with this, pets can provide you with companionship, which can make you feel happy and lower your stress levels. These effects are most commonly seen with the elderly and sick, which are sommonly asscioated with Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) or Pet-Facilited Therapy (PFT) Many hospitals and nursing homes used this as a form of therapy, helping patients feel more comfortable throughtout their ordeals.
5. They can fight allergies
This seems a little backwards, as some people can't own pets because of the allergies that come from the animals fur. An experiment conducted by the University of Wisconsin concluded that being exposed to an animal could lower a child's risk of developing allergies later on in life by as much as 33 percent, while also stregthening their immune systems. This isn't really much of a concern, as there are medicines to treat allergies, but it's just an added bonus to owning a furry friend.
If you’ve been deciding whether to add a pet to your home, take these added benefits to mind. While pets can be costly and are a huge responsibily, the added perks of caring for a furry friend make up for the cons. While you're doing them a favor, they are giving back by making you a happier and healthier person.
Grace Mccandless, Sarah "Top 5 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet" Animal Planet N/A http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/benefits-of-pets/
Anderson, Prof. Robert K. "The Changing Status of Animals and Human-Animal Bonds." CENSHARE -- The University of Minnestoa. 02/09/2010. http://www.censhare.umn.edu/spotlight02.html
Gern, Dr. James E. "Effects of dog ownership and genotype on immune development and atopy in infancy." Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 02/11/2004.
Hodai, Beau. "Study: Dogs improve health of their human companions." 01/23/2007. http://www.naturalnews.com/021483.html
Homans, John. "The Rise of Dog Identity Politics." New York Magazine. 02/01/2010. http://nymag.com/news/features/63232/
McCartney, Dr. Jennifer. "Vet Talk: Health Benefits of Pet Ownership." 02/16/2009. http://www.yorknewstimes.com/articles/2009/02/16/news/doc499863da54963000243651.text
McMahon, Kevin R. "Nursing home therapy dogs: courage givers, door openers and conversation starters." McKnight's Longterm Care News & Assisted Living. 05/11/2009. http://www.mcknights.com/nursing-home-therapy-dogs-courage-givers-door-openers-and-conversation-starters/article/136533/
Mood Letter. "Pets and Mental Wellness." 02/09/2010. http://www.oflikeminds.com/PetsandMentalHealth.htm
Murray, Jill Sherer. "How Your Dog Can Help You Find Love." Webvet. 08/01/2009. http://www.webvet.com/main/article?id=1347
National Institute of Health. "Can Pets Keep You Healthy? Exploring the Human-Animal Bond." 02/2009. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2009/February/feature1.htm
Saloman, Laurie. "Can a Pet Help You Defeat Depression?" Quality Health. 04/06/2009. http://www.qualityhealth.com/depression-articles/pet-help-you-defeat-depression
"Benefits of Owning a Pet" Hope For Pets http://www.hopeforpets.org/Benefits%20of%20Owning%20a%20Pet.htm
Pagila, Chloe "The Psychological Benefits of Owning a Pet" Zing! ByQuickenLoans. 9/9/13 http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/benefits-owning-pet