Companion animals are very cute and fun to be around, but numerous studies have shown that owning a pet can also have tremendous health benefits for people of all ages.
“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home”, says Lynette Hart, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog”, says Hart.
And that is only one of the benefits pet ownership offers to seniors. Various studies have shown that pets help older people with heart problems, emotional issues, and even health problems like diabetes, seizures and depression. Seniors often live alone and can feel isolated or lonely. Having a cuddly dog or cat to spend time with can really make a difference to their quality of life.
Pets Benefit Children, Too
Pets are also great for children, health-wise. Having a pet in the home can lower the chance of developing allergies by building up resistance to common household allergens and germs. A study by Dr. Becker, a well-known online health expert, showed that with less allergies and better immunity, kids from families with pets are sick less and miss less school.
Daily stress can damage the health of your heart and impact your mental health. Being a pet owner can help reduce stress and increase cardiovascular health in many ways;
- Dog owners get more daily aerobic exercise by walking their dog and playing with it. This activity leads to better heart health and the ability to cope with stressful situations.
- It has been found that the simple purring of a cat can lower blood pressure. The vibration of a cat’s purr has been shown to slightly increase the rate at which wounds heal.
- In a 2002 study by researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, it was found that overall stress when performing a difficult task was significantly decreased when in the presence of a pet, as opposed to being in the presence of a spouse, family member or close friend.
- Cat owners are 30% less likely to have a heart attack and 40% less likely to have a cardiovascular issue like a stroke. According to several studies by cardiologist, Dr. Becker.
Pets can help our mental health. Owning a pet can help one cope with depression and anxiety by improving mood. In the last few years, there has been a large increase in the use of “emotional support pets” to help patients with anxiety cope with daily life.
Specially trained dogs are being used by patients dealing with Autism, Diabetes, Seizures, Blindness, Panic attacks and other health problems.
Owning a pet is lots of fun, and now that we know how beneficial our furry friends are to our overall health and well-being, can you think of a good reason not to own a pet?