Multiple Health Benefits from Owning a Pet
Owning a pet creates a lifelong bond between man and beast. Non-judgemental, unconditional in their love and always there to listen, animals can truly be man’s best friend. As well as companionship, animals bring numerous health benefits to their owners.
Better Mental Health
Dogs in particular are known to improve our mental health. Playing with them increases our serotonin levels, which balances our moods, and their affection makes us feel valued and appreciated.
Having a pet also adds structure and routine to your day. Through their dependency on you, they teach the responsibility of caring for another creature.
Pets help to reduce loneliness and the symptoms of depression, and also encourage social, emotional and cognitive development in children.
Studies have shown that the act of stroking a dog or cat instantly reduces our stress levels and makes us more relaxed. This calming effect is caused by lowering levels of stress hormones like cortisol and elevating beneficial hormones like oxytocin, which is linked to relaxation.
Some people also experience greater outputs of endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemical, along with lower blood pressure.
As well as lowering our blood pressure, having pets is thought to improve our overall cardiovascular health. Research by the American Heart Association suggested a link between owning a dog and a lower level of cholesterol and blood triglycerides, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Exercise and Interaction
Dogs in particular need daily exercise, which is a great reason to get outside. Walking, jogging, running and even playing fetch are easy ways to do something active and fun with your pet.
It’s also a way to socialise with other pet owners as a dog is always a great conversation starter. Joining a local dog walking group or chatting to the owners you see out and about are great ways of meeting new people.
Better Immune System
Studies suggest that small children who grow up with animals are less likely to have asthma or allergies as well as fewer colds and ear infections. Being exposed to germs that animals carry helps to strengthen their immune systems.
Used as Therapy
Animals are often used as a form of therapy. Hospitals, support groups and care homes routinely organise for animal groups to visit to help improve patient health.
Guide and hearing dogs are the most well-known examples of dogs aiding disabled owners, but they can also be trained to help people with serious medical conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy. They have a very accurate sense of smell and can be taught to notice certain chemical changes in people, such as the drop in blood pressure that precedes a seizure or when a diabetic’s blood sugar levels are too high. They then alert the owner or family and in some severe cases help to save lives.
They can aid those with mobility issues or people who have anxiety about being in public.
Medical professionals are also investigating the use of dogs to detect early stage cancer cells from urine samples.
Having an animal is a lot of work and responsibility, but the joys they bring definitely make it worth the effort and cost.
From the 1st April – 4th May it is National Pet Month, which aims to celebrate our furry friends and promote responsible ownership. We at The ID Band Company are supporting Balkan Underdogs, a charity that rescues street dogs and rehomes them, with our wristbands and dog tags