Health Benefits of Pet Ownership
If you have a furry family member – or one with scales or feathers – then you might already suspect that your four-legged charge offers a bevy of emotional benefits. Research backs up your hunch. In fact, there are a wide number of benefits to keeping a family pet from both a physical and emotional standpoint. Whether you have a pet right now or you’re looking to bring home a new addition, here are four good reasons to visit your local shelter and adopt a pet today.
#1 – Fewer Runny Noses
You might have heard from your grandmother that letting your kids have a dog too soon would result in allergies or asthma. Actually, the opposite is true. Newer research suggests that raising a child in an environment with a furry animal can help to prevent allergies and asthma later in life. Infants with pets are also less likely to develop eczema and more likely to develop a strong immune system. Because dogs tend to be dirtier animals, babies who interact with them more regularly might build up better tolerance to everyday allergens and germs. You can’t always avoid allergies, but having a pet might help.
#2 – Less Stress
Having a pet to vent the day’s frustrations to can be psychologically helpful, but pets are even better at stress relief than you think. Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and lower levels of anxiety than people without pets. This is probably because a pet, specifically a dog, offers a type of unconditional bonding that doesn’t exist between other humans. People with medical problems also benefit from animal companionship. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition, such as arthritis, then you’re more likely to handle the symptoms better if you have a pet. Pet owners are also less likely to have a stroke, suffer heart attack or experience high cholesterol.
#3 – Better Bonding
Along with the physical and emotional benefits that pets afford, our animal pals also help us socialize, particularly when it comes to children with developmental delays or behavioral disabilities. People with autism, ADHD and other similar conditions tend to bond more immediately with animals than with other people, and animals provide a greater source of comfort to those dealing with these conditions. But pets don’t just help people with behavioral disorders. Adults and children with regular abilities can also reap the social benefits of pet ownership. Walking your dog or taking your cat to the vet opens up a conversation with fellow pet owners and other animal enthusiasts. Your cat, dog, ferret or parakeet can also break the ice with a potential partner.
#4 – Faster Recovery
If you’ve got an upcoming surgery or other major medical procedure on the horizon, then your furry friend can actually help you recover faster after the fact. Pet owners tend to recover more quickly from medical procedures than those without pets. People who suffer from addiction are also more likely to do well in recovery if they can interact with their pets during rehabilitation.