Pets have mood-boosting and health benefits
Pet owners know the joys of sharing their lives and companion animals. Many of us are unaware of the health and psychological benefits of snuggling up to our furry friends. Only recently, scientific studies have started to explore the health benefits of the human-animal relationship.
Dogs are now more sensitive to human behavior and emotions than ever before. Dogs can understand many words we use but better understand our body language, tone, and gestures. Like a good friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes and attempt to understand your emotions (and when the next treat or walk might be coming).
Pets, particularly cats and dogs, are a great way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, increase exercise and playfulness and improve cardiovascular health. Children can be more active and secure if they have a pet to look after. Older adults also benefit from the companionship of a pet. Most importantly, however, pets can bring joy and unconditional love into your life.
Any pet can improve your health
Although pets can indeed have a more significant impact on health than people without them, you don’t need to keep one. If you have allergies to animals or are looking for a friend to cuddle with, a rabbit might be the perfect pet. If you are an older adult, birds can be a great way to encourage social interaction and keep your mind sharp. Reptiles such as snakes, lizards, and other reptiles make great companions. Just looking at fish in an aquarium can reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.
Depression is less common in pet owners than it is for those who don’t have pets.
In stressful situations, people with pets tend to have a lower blood pressure than those who don’t have pets. A study found that borderline hypertensive people adopted dogs from shelters within five months of receiving their blood pressure readings.
Playing with a pet cat, dog, or another animal can increase serotonin and dopamine levels and help you relax.
The cholesterol and triglyceride levels in pet owners (indicators for heart disease) are lower than in those who don’t have pets.
Pet owners who have suffered a heart attack are more likely to survive than those without pets.
Over 65-year-old pet owners visit their doctor 30 percent less often than those who don’t have pets.
These therapeutic effects are possible because pets satisfy the basic human need to touch. Many pets experience mutual affection and can make even the most hardened criminals feel better. When you are feeling anxious or stressed, touching, hugging, or another touch with a pet can quickly calm you down. A pet’s companionship can alleviate loneliness, and many dogs can stimulate exercise and a healthy mood.
How pets can help you change your lifestyle to be healthier
Healthy lifestyle changes are essential in alleviating symptoms such as depression, anxiety and stress, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and stress. You can make lifestyle changes by caring for your pet to improve your health.
Walking, running, and hiking with your dog are great ways to get healthy exercise. Research has shown that dogs who exercise every day are more likely to be able to keep up with their daily exercise needs. This will strengthen the bond between you and your pet, eliminate most behavioral problems in dogs and keep them healthy and fit.
Isolation and loneliness can lead to depression symptoms. Caring for an animal can make you feel loved and appreciated if you live alone. Many cat and dog owners communicate with their pets. Some even use their pets to help them through their problems. Nothing beats coming home to a purring cat or wagging tail.
Pets are an excellent social lubricant, helping to build and maintain new friendships. Dog owners often stop to talk with each other while on walks, hiking, or at dog parks. Dog owners often meet new people at clubs, classes, and pet shops.
A companion animal can provide comfort and help ease stress. It can also build self-confidence for those anxious about venturing into the world. Pets are more present now, so they don’t have to worry about tomorrow or yesterday. This can help you be more mindful and enjoy the present.
Dogs, in particular, need regular exercise and feeding. Consistent practice can help keep your pet calm and balanced. It can also work for you. You can’t be stressed, depressed, anxious, or in a bad mood with one look from your pet. Then you must get up and feed, exercise, and care for them.
Movement and touch are two ways to manage stress. You can reduce blood pressure by stroking a cat, dog, or animal. This will help you feel calmer and less stressed and lower your blood pressure.
Get a dog, and lose weight
The Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago conducted a year-long study and found that overweight dogs could be walked to help them lose weight. Researchers discovered that dogs could provide support similar to a human exercise buddy but without any adverse effects and with more consistency.
The Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction also found that people living in public housing lost, on average, 14.4 pounds if they walked therapy dogs for 20 minutes five days per week, and this was without changing their diets.
Mars Petcare, a dog food manufacturer, did a third study and found that dog owners walked 30 minutes per week more than before they had a pet.
Pets are good for seniors
You’ll lose things that used to occupy your time and give your life purpose. Your career may end, or you may have to move away from your family. Being a pet owner can bring joy and boost your self-worth, morale, and optimism. Adopting a shelter pet, particularly an elderly pet can increase your satisfaction knowing that you have provided a home for a pet who might otherwise have died.
Maintaining social networks can be complicated as you age. Death, illness, and relocation can all take the closeness of family and friends. And making new friends can get more challenging. Older adults can make new friends by having pets, particularly dogs.
This will help you overcome many of the physical and mental challenges of aging. Playing with your pets and increasing your energy can boost your immune system.
How pets can help dementia patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Patients with Alzheimer’s might experience various behavioral issues related to the inability to handle stress.
Researchers at the University of California at Davis found that Alzheimer’s patients are less stressed and more likely to have anxious outbursts when a pet or cat is at home.
Pets are a great source of non-verbal communication. A pet’s playful interactions and a gentle touch can soothe an Alzheimer’s patient.
Often, a patient’s behavior problems result from their primary caregiver’s stress response. Caregivers can be relieved of stress by having pets. Caged animals or cats may be better than dogs. Dogs require more care and can increase the burden on someone caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
Pets are suitable for children
Children who have pets as their children grow up are less likely to develop allergies or asthma. Many also learn compassion and empathy from their pet.
Pets are not like teachers or parents. They don’t criticize, and they don’t follow orders. Pets are always affectionate and can provide security for children by simply being there. Having a pet always there can help reduce separation anxiety in children who aren’t with their parents.
A pet’s companionship and love can help a child feel valued and develop a positive self-image.
Children who feel emotionally connected to their pets can form relationships with others more.
Research has also shown that pets can calm overly-aggressive or hyperactive children. The child and the animal must be taught to cooperate reasonably.
By teaching a child understanding and empathy, a pet can help to develop a young mind. Talking with pets can be fun for children and help them build confidence and vocabulary.
Even a small pet like a guinea pig or hamster can be a great way for children to learn responsibility.
Children can also benefit from having a pet to play with, just like adults. Playing with a pet can bring calmness, relaxation, and stimulation to the brain and body. A child’s play with a pet can be a gateway to learning. It can spark a child’s imagination. Children can learn perseverance by training their dogs to do new tricks. A child can find immense joy in caring for their furry friend.