It’s generally an accepted fact amongst pet owners that owning a furry friend immediately improves your life. They provide unconditional love, are there for you when you need them, and leave you with many happy memories. But it’s not just on a surface level that having a pet makes life better for you. Several health benefits come with owning a cat or dog, such as…
Pets decrease your stress
There’s nothing better than coming home and spending time with your furbaby after a long, stressful day, and this has been scientifically proven. In a 2002 study from the State University of New York, researchers discovered that when conducting a stressful task, they were calmer when their pet was nearby. They also found that people were less stressful performing a task with their pet close by than they were with a spouse or family member. Discoveries like this have led to treatment centres for addiction recommending patients get a pet to help them cope with the stress of their recovery.
Pets ease your pain
If you’ve ever gone through the day with some form of ache or pain, you’ll know how difficult it can make everyday life. This is especially true for people who deal with chronic pain like migraines or arthritis. Luckily it’s been proven that pets can be the best medicine for what ails you. This is because having a pet nearby reduces stress and anxiety, and the less anxiety you have, the less pain you have. A study from Loyola University also found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need less pain medication
Pets improve your mood
This might sound like an obvious point to make; of course pets will improve your mood. There’s nothing that can lift your spirits more than time with your furbaby. But there are several mental and emotional benefits you gain from owning a pet. Along with less stress and anxiety, people who have pets also have more laughter and in their life, generally feeling more content as they always have someone there for them. Because of their uplifting abilities, pets have also been used in forms of therapy for veterans, as it was found that returning soldiers who have a pet were better able to re-enter society. This is because, with a pet, veterans have someone who cares about them and who they don’t have to explain their experiences too.
Pets monitor blood sugar levels in diabetics
If you’re living with diabetes, having a pet might just save your life. A 1992 study found that one-third of pets living with diabetics would change their behaviour when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. This is most likely a reaction to the chemical changes in their owner’s body. Discoveries like this have led to the forming of organisations like Dogs4Diabetics, which trains dogs to be companions for patients at risk of unstable blood glucose levels.
Pets help children develop
It’s not just the owners who reap the benefits of having a pet in the family. Children who grow up in a house with a pet gain several benefits, especially in their emotional development. When a child is attached to a pet, they learn to express themselves in more ways and they learn to relate to something or someone else. Pets also have benefits for children with special needs. For children with ADHD, taking care of a pet can encourage them to focus on responsibilities through a predictable routine, while the sensory experience of holding and petting an animal can be soothing for children with autism.