Get a Pet, Get Happy
Animals and humans have been bonding for more than 12,000 years—a 12,000-year-old human skeleton was found in Israel buried with its hand resting on the skeleton of a 6-month-old wolf pup. What makes this bond so important? Animals as pets provide a host of health benefits for their owners and families, from physical to emotional health. Read on for a list of eleven pet perks.
- Reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports these benefits on its website. These benefits can come from reduced stress levels and increased exercise.
- Stress reduction
Interacting with your pet helps your body to release dopamine and serotonin. Both of these neurotransmitters produce a calming and pleasurable effect on the mind. In fact, a survey of businesses that allow pets in the workplace revealed that most employees believed that the animals reduce stress and improve their mental and physical health.
- Fewer doctor visits
The National Institute of Health found that people with pets make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions. This is especially true for seniors with pets.
- Fight depression and loneliness
Pets promote social interaction, decrease the feeling of isolation, and increase morale and optimism.
- Make more friends
Man’s best friend may help you make more human friends. Several studies have shown that walking with a dog leads to more conversations and helps you stay socially connected.
- Laugh and play more
Pets encourage playfulness and laughter with their antics. Need proof? Just check out viral websites LOLcats or Icanhascheezeburger.
- Give affection
Ever had a human hug from a dog? Pets satisfy the need for touch and to be touched, and give nonjudgmental warmth and affection.
- Develop empathy
Helping to care for another creature teaches children (and adults!) a sense of empathy and responsibility.
In the Ohio Corrections System, inmates are matched with dogs and then go through a 10-week course with them, teaching the dogs basic commands and house-training them. The dogs are then adopted out by the local humane society. The experience of caring for another creature is invaluable for men like these, who have often had harsh lives.
- Immune health
A growing number of studies show that children who come from a family that had “furred-animals” or farm animals where at a much lower risk for pet allergies once they became adults. Being around animals from birth helps improve your immune system’s defense against hair, pet dander, and dust.
Pets, especially dogs that need to be walked, get you up and moving and outdoors.