It’s easy to comprehend the immediate joys of having a pet, be it a dog, cat, or any furry companion. Just flick through photos of cute puppies or kittens and your mood instantly improves, allowing you to focus on work better. But countless studies have shown that animals give humans more than just the cozy companionship that attracted us to get a pet in the first place. Beyond the daily dose of cuteness and “meme-able” encounters, here are science-backed benefits of owning a pet:
1. Eases symptoms of depression, anxiety, and loneliness
It’s not surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a pet adoption boom. This is because adopting a pet is an easy and achievable way of solving the problem with isolation. But more than that, a furry companion at home can help alleviate serious mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. People who have pets at home are less prone to stress compared to those who don’t.
2. Improve your cardiovascular health
Owning a pet is good for your heart, as well, and it’s all thanks to the stress-relieving power of these loyal animals. Studies have shown that dog ownership contributes to lower blood pressure levels, diminished sympathetic response to stress, and improve lipid profile. So if you’re worried that the prolonged confinement and drastic changes to your routine can increase your risk of a heart attack or you simply want to live longer, consider adopting a pet, preferably a dog. ;
3. Make you feel more secure and confident
Given that pets make you happy and help you cope better with stress, their constant presence can also boost your self-esteem and make you feel less insecure. Complete isolation or living in a toxic environment can crush your confidence, and dogs, cats, rodents, and even exotic pets can provide an almost instant cure. Of course, a more sustainable solution is to confront your issues, but there’s no harm in having something to help you along the way.
4. Helps you to keep calm and relaxed
Pets, especially dogs, are loyal creatures and tend to be more attuned to your emotions than other people can ever be. With their presence and commitment to you, you can feel more assured and confident to go through the day as usual. Should you get triggered by something and get caught up in negative emotions, your pet will come to the rescue and pull you out of an unhealthy mood or disposition. For people living alone, a dog can also provide a sense of ease and peace of mind knowing that the dog can protect them from dangers both internal and external. This is especially true for people who rely on their service dogs to keep them safe from fatal seizures and blood pressure drops.
5. Encourages you to stay fit and active
If you have a pet that requires exercise and plenty of stimulation, you’ll almost always get infected by their energy. To keep up with their needs, you’ll be forced to go out for a walk, play fetch, or do other energy-draining activities. A pet hungry for attention can also keep you out from your desk from time to time, encouraging you to take mental breaks and loosen up your muscles and improve your blood circulation.
6. Helps you meet new people
Dogs are social beings, so even a short walk to the park can lead to small talk with strangers, dog-owner or not. People who like dogs will come up to you and pet your fur baby. One way or another, these regular walks can lead to new friendships, which can have significant benefits to your mental health. Not only that, being in public with a dog makes you more attractive, increasing your chances of getting a date.
7. Creates structure and routine
Pet ownership comes with many responsibilities, including training, feeding, grooming, and visiting the vet clinic, among others. These obligations put you on a routine and build a structure in your daily life. And it’s a good kind of structure, too, as they help build character, strengthen your bond with your pets, and help you become a more responsible person.
9. Helps maintain your cognitive functions
Pets make great companions for the elderly, as well. In addition to the health benefits mentioned above, animal companions can help seniors maintain their cognitive functions and memory. This is because pets, especially dogs, give seniors a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth, allowing them to keep their mental faculties sharp. Depression among the elderly is linked to memory loss and confusion, and the happiness that pets bring can be better than any treatment.
Unless you’re allergic to pets, there’s really no reason for not having a pet. Regardless of your age and background, having a pet at home can have a positive impact on almost every aspect of your life.