I am a huge advocate for owning pets, mostly because I love kitty noses and exuberant woofie welcomes. And aside from being great company, it turns out that pets can also keep you healthier and happier.
So in case you’re not as sold as I am on the premise of owning something furry, take a look at how Fido can improve your life.
From making sure that you have constant companionship, to ensuring a little bit of extra protection, pets are great for alleviating mental conditions like depression and anxiety. A recent study has even concluded that a furry companion may help with conditions like dementia by improving one’s quality of life and cognitive function.
Who doesn’t love a good night’s rest?
Previous thoughts that having a pet in the bed may mess with your sleep turns out to be largely false. In reality, it actually has many sleep-based advantages. Pets help you fall asleep faster, enhance your sense of security and comfort, and even help with decreasing sleep disorders like insomnia.
Improved fitness levels
Yes, your pup can help you clock your daily 10k step goal. Studies have found that dog owners are 34% more likely to average 150 minutes of walking per week when compared to non-dog owners. Owning a pup also increases your “non-exercise” movements, as it increases your leisurely activity by up to 69%.
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They literally make you happier
Ever wonder why cuddling your pet makes you so unbelievably happy? Apart from the fact that kitty toes are just too cute to deal with, there’s quite a bit of science behind this. Basically, cuddling activates the touch receptors on your skin, which prompts the release of neurotransmitters like oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. Cue that good feeling!
Lowered risk of a heart attack and stroke
Those neurotransmitters we just mentioned? Turns out, they’re great for lowering stress too. Numerous studies can vouch for the fact that owning a pet decreases your blood pressure, lowers your cortisol levels, and decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This, in turn means that your heart is healthier, your blood pressure is way down, and your risk of a heart attack or stroke is vastly improved.
Purring is good for your bones
Your cat’s purring, that is. A cat’s purr has a frequency range of 20-140 Hz, a range that has been proven to have therapeutic benefits, such as healing bones, fighting infections and helping with sore muscles. Turns out, nature’s pain-killer wears fur and loves cuddles.
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Reduced allergies and autoimmune diseases
If you grew up like me, you’ll know the struggle of trying to get cat hair off of school jerseys. What I didn’t take into account when cursing those tiny fibers, was that it had helped me grow up healthier. Various studies have proven that children who are exposed to pets at a young age develop fewer allergies, are less likely to develop conditions like eczema, and they have an average of three weeks more school attendance than kids who were pet-free while growing up.
With all these advantages, it’s no wonder that a recent study has concluded that pet owners may live longer. What do you think, what are the health benefits of pets? Let us know in the comments.