Published on: July 31, 2020
Author: Lauren Piandes

Pets are incredible, aren’t they? They bring so much joy to our lives and fill us with unconditional love, but did you know they can also provide additional health benefits? Here is a list of why having a pet positively affects us and brings wellness into our lives:

 

  1. Pets decrease anxiety, depression, and loneliness

(From ScienceDaily) In a study done by 3 universities (Georgia State University, Idaho University, and SCAD), 55 students with self-reported anxiety, depression, and loneliness were provided with animal-assisted therapy. 84% of the students said that their interaction with the therapy dog provided was the most significant part of their experience.

Petting cats or dogs can quickly lower blood pressure and make you feel less stressed almost instantly. In fact, animal companionship has the potential to add years to your life. If you live alone, having a pet takes focus away from small stressors that can impact your daily life significantly.

 

  1. Pets help us build new relationships

It might be something that you have heard before, but it is true: cute animals are friend magnets. When you are out walking or at the park, dogs can create conversations between complete strangers.

Dr. Megan K. Mueller of  Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, suggests that pets may act as “social facilitators” for humans. She says “We still don’t know much about the mechanisms of this relationship, but it could be that animals give people a shared interest to connect around, or it could be that there are parallels between human-animal social relationships and human-human social relationships.” (From Wales Animal Clinic)

 

  1. Pets provide structure for our day & creates healthy responsibility

Pets give us reason to provide us with structure for our day. You know that cats are up bright and early for breakfast, and dogs know what time they get to go out in the yard or for a morning walk. You have those times scheduled in your own brain and follow them in tandem with your own routine, creating a potentially healthy routine to start/end your day.

Having a pet may also create responsibilities for children. A writer from Texas named Mary Moore described how her daughter reacted to caring for the family dog: “Having a pet was a great trial run for sharing love and taking on responsibility. Watching her kindness with animals makes us feel good about the possibility of her being a loving and nurturing sister, if not just a good person.” (From Wales Animal Clinic)

 

  1. Pets get us up and moving

Taking that 30+ minute walk or taking a play break is the perfect way to diminish anxious energy. The benefits of walking your dog include increased cardiovascular health, lowered blood pressure, and healthier muscles and bones.

Dog walking has also been linked to benefitting communities. In a study done by the University of Western Australia, they found that pet owners, in particular dog owners, were more likely to get to know their neighbors, do favors for said neighbors, and acknowledge/greet others when they encounter them on the street.

 

There you have it! By having a pet, you are not only contributing to their health and wellness, but yours as well!