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The Health Benefits of Having a Pet

  •   Danielle L’Ami
Image of a dog to illustrate the health benefits of having a pet.

Pets can be wonderful companions; it doesn’t matter if they are fluffy, scaly, big or small, a silent companion by your side or one that greets you with loud enthusiasm at every waking moment, pets bring us joy, laughter and companionship. According to petsecure.com.au, the USA alone holds the highest number of dogs as pets, coming in at almost 70 million.

The reasons for pets are plentiful, but how often do we stop and consider the health benefits of having a pet? Benefits that go beyond the physical, but into our mental well-being as well? If you don’t already have a pet, you might want to consider getting one after you consider how good they are for your overall wellness.

The Physical Health Benefits

Because owners develop a bond with their pets, that bond improves our health in many ways, as is suggested on the cdc.gov website. Pets have been known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. To learn more ways to help lower your blood pressure, read up on how to lower your blood pressure naturally here.

To add to this great benefit, according to webmd.com, individuals who have suffered from a heart attack stand a better chance at living longer if they are the owner of a pet versus those who aren’t. Whether through the happiness they bring or the extra exercise they require, such as walking a dog, pets seem to be good for our hearts. Exercise and less stress are great ways to make ourselves appear more attractive to others, interested to know more? You can read all about 5 healthy ways to increase your attractiveness here.

Often, many people would like to have a pet but cannot because they are allergic to the dander found in the fur of dogs and cats. While allergies do need to be taken seriously, not all pets have dander. Additionally, new research has found that youth can benefit by growing up around furred or large animals, such as those on a farm (WebMD). This daily exposure not only lowers their risk for allergies but asthma as well.

Another option is you can choose a bread that has hair instead of fur. According to VetInfo.com, the following dog breeds have hair.

  • Airedale
  • Basenji
  • Bearded Collie
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bergamasco
  • Bichon Frise
  • Bolognese
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Chinese Crested
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Havanese
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Lowchen
  • Maltese
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Poodle
  • Portugese Water Dog
  • Puli
  • Schnauzer
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Wirehaired Fox Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

 

In addition to boosting our immune system, animals can also help bolster our emotional health as well.

 

The Emotional Health Benefits

Petting a dog for approximately 15 minutes every day is said to lower ur blood pressure and anxiety levels. Is it any wonder then that the term “emotional support animal” was coined? But don’t feel as though you have to have a dog to have this same effect; the site countryliving.com states that cats, rabbits, and turtles can also help lower blood pressure and ease anxiety.

If you have ever had a bout of loneliness or even depression, then consider getting a pet. In the case of a dog or a cat, they have the uncanny ability to sense when our emotions are off and will be by our side in an attempt to comfort us.

Many elders who live alone and become afflicted with depression find that owning a pet can help reduce this feeling for the following reasons: a pet helps to keep them more active and provides them with a purpose in their day-to-day life. This is particularly true when in the face of a pandemic. To learn more about the health side effects of the pandemic and lockdown, read our post here.

The Benefits to Children

Children can also have a great benefit to having a pet, particularly those who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to mentalhealth.org.uk, having a pet requires the children to take charge of the care of their pet, from following a schedule to learning to be responsible, and lastly, it can greatly aid in getting their extra energy out through exercise and play.

Children with autism have sensory issues; they don’t feel comfortable with touch; even sounds and smells can be a bother. Through working with animals, such as a dog or a horse, these children can lessen this sensitivity which can aid in their ability to socialize and connect with other people.

Considering the millions of pet owners in the world, it’s no wonder the many benefits they provide to us. From simple companionship to keeping our hearts strong. They help us both physically and mentally, and in many ways, provide us with that special something that can sometimes be lacking with human interactions.

Author
Danielle L’Ami

Danielle L’Ami is a logophile who writes her passion and loves to connect with others through her thoughts and personal experiences. When she is not writing, you can find her watching hockey with her husband, torturing her children with new recipes, or practicing yoga to keep herself balanced.

My Toolbox Genomics empowers individuals in their healthcare journey by creating reports focused on genetic predispositions derived from published research. Test results and suggestions are intended to lead to consultation with one’s healthcare practitioner. MyTBG reports do not diagnose disease or medical conditions. Any lifestyle changes should result from consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners.