Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend” but sometimes we’re unaware of the mental and physical health benefits that our pets provide.
Pets have evolved along with humans. They are acutely aware and in-tune with our behaviors and emotions. Dogs, for example, can understand certain phrases, body language and even gestures and will try to gauge your emotional state. Petting a cat can be very calming and that can be a big stress reducer.
More Ways Animals Provide Health Benefits
Studies have shown that:
- Pets help you be more active. Pets give us a reason to get outside, get some fresh air and get in some physical activity.
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
- Pets combat loneliness. The bond with pets helps people feel less alone. Owners can touch, see, hear or talk to their companion animals and that helps to bring happiness to both pets and people.
- Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Adopting an animal also gives you the opportunity to adopt healthy lifestyle changes including increased exercise, companionship, and reduced anxiety. Caring for a live animal can make you feel loved and wanted, and help take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Many pets, especially dogs, require physical exercise and regularly scheduled feedings. Your health will benefit if you have a consistent routine which keeps you and your pet calm and happy.
Make New Friends
Pets can be a great introduction to a new group of friends. Pet owners frequently stop and talk to each other at the dog park or on walks. Special interest pet groups, clubs or training classes are ways to meet more pet owners and share your mutual interest.
Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Pets have a way of making us more appreciative and mindful. Because they live in the moment, animals do not worry about what happened in the past or what tomorrow might bring. Our interactions with them reduce our stress and bring joy to our lives.
Ready to find your furr-ever friend? Contact your local SPCA today and bring home more pet-sponsored health benefits!