For many people, pets provide love, joy, and companionship. But, did you know that pets can be good for your physical and emotional health? It doesn’t make much difference if your pet is a dog, cat, goldfish, gerbil, or canary. They all can improve the health and well-being of their owner and enhance the quality of daily life.
Besides the obvious health benefits of taking regular walks with your dog, for example, pets can provide other health benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2013), pets can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and they can increase opportunities for exercise, socialization, and outdoor activities. Consequently, pet owners may experience less loneliness than non-pet owners, as well as fewer ailments, such as headaches, colds, and hay fever. Pets may even help hasten recovery after a major illness.
If you already have a pet, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that simply stroking a pet or watching a fish swim in an aquarium can promote relaxation. In fact, the mere presence of a pet seems to have a similar effect, reducing heart rate and lowering blood pressure, particularly in those with hypertension.
Caring for a pet can help a person feel needed and connected. In elderly people, pets can diminish feelings of isolation and loneliness and provide a sense of purpose. Having the daily responsibility to care for a pet can provide fulfillment and satisfaction. Pets can help children learn the importance of responsibility and mutual trust. Individuals with disabilities, as well as incarcerated individuals, can also benefit from the loyalty, companionship, and unbridled affection that pets provide.
If you are looking for a way to improve the quality of your life or someone close to you, consider adopting a pet. You should consult a health care professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.