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Benefits of pet ownership

Pets an improve your mood:

For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours, or when a super-soft cat rubs up against your hand. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets. A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. (According to a press release, men with AIDS who did not own a pet were about three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than men who did not have AIDS. But men with AIDS who had pets were only about 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression, as compared to men in the study who did not have AIDS.)

Pets control blood pressure better than drugs:

Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a , groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Pets encourage you to get out and exercise:

Whether we walk our dogs because they need it, or are more likely to enjoy a walk when we have companionship, dog owners do than non-pet owners, at least if we live in an urban setting. Because exercise is good for stress management and overall health, owning a dog can be credited with increasing these benefits.

Pets can help with social support:

When we’re out walking, having a dog with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet, giving us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits.

Pets stave off loneliness and provide unconditional love:

Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. In fact, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people! All these benefits can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people.

Pets can reduce stress—sometimes more than people:

While we all know the power of talking about your problems with a good friend who’s also a good listener, recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better! Recent research shows that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present! (This may be partially due to the fact that pets don’t judge us; they just love us.)

Did you know that living with a pet is good for you?

Consider these facts:

  • Pet owners have lower blood pressure and lower cholesteral levels and in general, this puts them at a reduced risk for heart disease.
  • Pet owners report fewer headaches, fewer bouts of indigestion and less difficulty sleeping.
  • Dog owners in particular, exercise more though you can certainly get exercise playing with an energetic cat or kitten.
  • Pets help safeguard against depression or loneliness.
  • Pets actually help improve social skills.
  • For children, owing a pet improves their self esteem - someone who loves them unconditionally and wants their undivided attention.
  • Pets reduce the number of visits to a doctor by elderly patients
  • Pets help to ease loss. An older person whose spouse has died is less likely to experience deterioration in health if he or she is attached to a pet.
  • Your pet may just get you into heaven.
Page updated 8th Feb 2017, 06:47
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