Even when you’re feeling down, your pet always makes you feel better, right? Their unconditional love and happy-go-lucky attitude have a lasting effect on on us and we should be eternally grateful for our furry friends. You may be surprised at just how many ways pets can help people. For now, here are 10 ways pets improve the health and well-being of their humans:
1) Mood boosters - Obviously, we are happier when our pets are around. Even watching fish swimming can be soothing. Maybe it’s chemical, or maybe there is something comforting about interacting with an animal that has no idea about your personal problems. No matter what, your pet can help reduce stress.
2) Increase fitness - Walking your dog, riding your horses, playing with your cat, and even cleaning your fish tank can get you moving and improve your fitness level. Want to further improve? Start running with your dog and play fetch often. Have a cat? Mimic their stretching routine - every time they stretch, you stretch.
3) Prevent heart disease - Pet owners are less likely to die from heart disease than people who have never owned a pet. Having a pet is also linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This could be due to a more active lifestyle people often adopt when they own a dog - dogs make you walk more and that is a great thing!
4) Lower blood pressure - Because of their calming effect on us, people with pets may have lower blood pressure than those without pets.
5) Disease management - We aren’t sure why, but about a third of dogs can detect when their diabetic owner has low blood sugar and should have a snack to counteract the effects. Also, dogs can be trained to detect seizures and help their owners while seizing to prevent injuries. Dogs can also be trained to aid those with Parkinson’s disease by picking up things their owner dropped or touching the owners during a “freeze” to get them back in motion.
6) Socializing - Walking your cute pup obviously draws attention from strangers, which leads to short interactions with people who want to pet your dog. Humans are social beings and socializing is important for our well-being, even if you are an introvert.
7) Mental health - Having a pet around to listen to you and cuddle with you can help ease depression. Plus, having to care for your pet helps get your mind off the depression for a few moments a day and may give you a sense of purpose.
8) Self Esteem - Your pet will smother you with kisses and be excited to see you no matter what you are wearing or what you look like. They love you unconditionally and always will. This can help you feel better about yourself and boost your self esteem.
9) Strong bones - Milk has nothing to do with it. Exercising, like walking your dog or riding your horse, gets you outdoors in the sunshine. The sun stimulates our skin to make Vitamin D, which is essential for bone health. Walking is a weight bearing exercise that also helps increase bone strength.
10) Helpful for kids - Taking care of a pet helps children learn responsibility and daily chores. Playing with a pet can burn off excess energy. Best of all, the bond between a child and their pet can teach them kindness and help their self-esteem.