Pets are great companions. They provide unconditional love and support, give us company during our busy days, and even help us get healthier. Studies show that having a pet can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and even boost immunity.
But did you know that having a pet can also help you lose weight? And not just any kind of pet—a dog or cat can play a significant role in helping you achieve your fitness goals.
There are several ways that animals can benefit your health. For example, dogs can increase your energy level and motivation to exercise. Cats are known for their purring sounds, which are proven to be relaxing and soothing. Both cats and dogs can help decrease stress levels by providing comfort.
This article explains how pets have the power to heal and why everyone should consider getting one (or two).
The Health Benefits of Pets
Having a pet can be good for your health and help you to live longer. Studies show that pets decrease stress, increase activity levels, and increase life expectancy by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels in their owners.
The healing power of pets can also help us with depression. A study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing showed that people with diabetes who owned dogs had improved glucose control than those without one.
Pet owners are even known to have fewer colds because their furry friends produce antibodies against viral infections. They also reduce loneliness, especially among older adults. And it’s not just humans who benefit from animal companionship—pets get something out of it too!
Owning a dog or cat lowers stress and anxiety levels in both animals and humans. If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, consider adopting an animal from your local shelter. You could save its life while increasing your own well-being.
Power of Pets
Scientists say having a pet can help lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety and depression, improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, and even extend your life.
But many people are hesitant to bring home a dog or cat because they believe their animal friend will suffer from too much affection. However, research shows that owning a pet—specifically a canine—can lead to healthier relationships with other people.
For example, when you’re out walking your dog, you might meet new neighbors or make friends at a local park. In fact, one study found that when dogs were present in social situations, strangers were more likely to engage in conversation than when dogs weren’t around.
Pets and Mental Health
1. Whether you’re stressed or anxious, petting a furry friend can actually help. A study published on Psychology & Behaviour found that even a brief session with a pet increases oxytocin levels and reduces stress in both humans and animals. The benefits aren’t just physical; having pets could have mental health benefits as well.
2. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than non-pet owners, according to a study published in The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. In fact, dog owners specifically were found to have a lower risk for mental health issues like anxiety and stress compared with those who don’t own dogs or cats.
3. Pet owners are more likely to get regular exercise than non-pet owners which helps protect against heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, this is particularly true for dog owners; research shows that walking a dog can burn up to 150 calories per half hour, depending on your weight and speed. That’s not bad considering you’re also getting some much-needed companionship at the same time!
4. A study published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that pet owners have a lower blood pressure than non-pet owners, which could mean they’re less likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke. Other research shows that people who have pets tend to live longer than those who don’t, thanks to all these health benefits!
5. The simple act of petting a dog can lower your blood pressure, according to research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. That’s because petting an animal can reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while increasing oxytocin (the love hormone) and dopamine (which makes us feel good).
6. Having pets can even help you live longer! A study published in The BMJ found that dog owners had a 36% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with people who didn’t own dogs.
Lifestyle issues can be managed by having an adequately nutritious diet. Consult a dietitian to get your customized meal chart today.
7. Dogs, in particular, have been shown to be able to sense when their owners are feeling down or anxious, often by picking up on cues like posture or tone of voice; they’ll then try to cheer you up by doing something silly or affectionate (like nuzzling you).
8. When dogs look into our eyes, it activates our brain’s caudate nucleus, an area associated with reward processing; we feel good when we look into their eyes because they make us feel good!
9. Children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop allergies, asthma, eczema, hay fever, and upper respiratory infections than children without pets do—and they’re also less likely to develop behavioral problems like ADHD later in life.
10. Petting a dog lowers levels of interleukin-6, a marker for inflammation linked to cancer and other diseases.
Science is discovering more health benefits of pets every day. If you are struggling with an illness, maybe it’s time to consider getting a pet. While your furry friend can’t talk and can’t help you with every problem, they do bring immense joy into your life. Life will always throw curveballs at us, but there is no one that understands unconditional love like our pets.
Life is better with pets in it!