For most of us, animals are sometimes better company than people. Even the most extroverted people find that it’s far easier to spend time with animals. There are also negative effects of owning pets. They can be distracting, especially when you’re supposed to be on the grind while working from home. Your decorations, furniture, and other knickknacks at home get shattered, slashed, and generally unusable. They can ruin your hardwood floors when they refuse to go outside or use the litter box.
But despite these downsides, we are still always inclined to care for pets. We keep them in our homes because we love animals. But why do you think our doctors and other healthcare professionals would recommend it? What are the health benefits of having pets at home?
Decreased Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Other Heart Problems
Connecting and maintaining healthy relationships with animals leads to feels of happiness and content. These positive emotions, in turn, lead to physiological impacts on our bodies. We experience less stress and anxiety. Thus, we’re able to maintain breathing rates and blood pressure.
In fact, studies found that cat ownership reduces the risk of fatal heart diseases. Researchers found that of all the people they tested, 95% of them are less susceptible to heart illnesses. The study participants claim that cats help them relax and take it easy from time to time.
Decreased Feelings of Stress and Loneliness
Dogs are particularly good at keeping your stress levels at bay. Their natural sunny disposition helps us remember to remain calm despite the challenges we encounter throughout the day. The fact that they are almost always happy to see us is an easy cure for our stress and anxiety.
There’s even a study that found that dogs’ simple gaze has eventual effects on our brain chemistry. Researchers explained that our levels of the hormone oxytocin increase when we bond through gazing at each other’s eyes. This same process also occurs with dogs. Oxytocin is often known as the “love hormone.” It triggers other positive emotions such as empathy, trust, and communication.
Sharper Memory and Stronger Focus
Having pets is especially beneficial to older adults. Because pets, especially dogs, require a lot of attention and care, adults are encouraged to be focused on their welfare and mood. This gives the opportunity to exercise their minds and keep them sharp and active.
Pets are also quite beneficial for those who live with Alzheimer’s Disease or other types of dementia. This is why you see dogs, cats, and even fishes in long-term care facilities for seniors. Because animals don’t judge and have shallow expectations, people with dementia aren’t pressured to remember information. This lowers the patients’ anxiety, aggression, loneliness, and depression. Studies even found that pets are linked to patients’ improvements in nutrition. Researchers found that patients are more encouraged to eat within a few weeks of being with animals. Therefore, they gained an average of 1.65 pounds and reduced the need for vitamin supplements.
Easier Pain Management
Pets are found to be beneficial to people who deal with pain management. Researchers conducted a study on the connection between certified therapy dogs and patients in pain management clinics. The results showed that patients experienced less pain, better mood, and a decrease in other forms of distress after spending time with dogs. Twenty-three percent of the patients even reported a significant increase in pain relief.
Pets are also quite receptive to their owners. When they sense that we’re in any pain, they will offer comfort by curling up against us. They would also lick the painful spots on our bodies. It’s their form of massaging it.
Dogs are energetic and cuddle. They are always happy to see you. They love accompanying you on your runs, errands, or any other outdoor excursions. They would cuddle against you when you feel lonely.
But some people want peace. And these are the people who prefer cats. It’s because cats don’t always cry for attention. In fact, they would almost always ignore you. But they remain to be a constant presence at home. They would do odd and entertaining things like running or jumping around. They can be temperamental. But like dogs, they’ll be there for you so you won’t feel alone.
As pet-owners, it’s our task to make sure that our pets are healthy and happy. We keep them up to date on their visits to the vet. We only buy quality food for them. But it’s also great to remember that they, too, have significant effects on our health.