There is a definite ‘feel-good’ factor about owning a pet, but did you know that pet ownership really does make you feel better? Read on for some amazing facts about how owning a pet can give you a health boost!
1. I ‘Heart’ My Pet
People who keep animals have been found to have lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, which means a lower risk of heart attack (this goes for cat owners as well as dog owners!).
2. Fitness Boost
Dogs need exercise! If you take your dog for daily walkies you should be well on your way to achieving the NHS’s recommendation of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Holding onto the lead of a boisterous dog, or throwing a ball or Frisbee, gives your muscles a great workout too!
Along with lower blood pressure, people who regularly stroke a cat or a dog also experience lower levels of stress and anxiety.
4. Higher Self-Esteem
People who have responsibility for looking after a pet tend to express greater feelings of belonging and meaning in their lives. If you have a furry friend who relies on you for their wellbeing, it can give you a real sense of self-worth.
Having a pet for company can help to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation. Simply having a pet to cuddle and talk to can brighten up the quietest day. Dog owners may find that taking their dog out for walks gives them opportunities for meeting and befriending other dog-walkers.
It’s good to talk, and pets are good listeners! You can tell your pet your problems without worrying that they will judge you, or that they will tell anyone else. Children in particular may be more likely to share their worries with a pet than with a grown-up.
7. Stronger Immune System
A 2008 study conducted by Stanford University and the University of California found that regular contact with a cat or dog lowered the chances of developing non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (a cancer of the immune system) by one third. The theory is that regular exposure to allergens from animals can boost the immune system. A 2002 study also discovered that children in pet-owning households have a more stable immune system than those that don’t own pets, whilst Japanese research has shown a similar effect amongst over 65’s who care for a pet.
8. Illness Detection
Your pet may be able to detect if you are ill, long before you have noticeable symptoms. There are many reports of owners who noticed that their dog would repeatedly sniff at an area of their body that later turned out to have cancerous cells.