Six ways in which our pets improve our health

Coming back home to a furry ball of love is probably the best thing after a long day at work. Our pets are our constant source of unconditional love and improve the quality of our lives just by being a part of it. But having a dog or a cat does not only provide companionship but also ensures better physical and mental health in the owners.

The love and bond that you share with your pet has a positive impact on your mental health, not to mention the exercise you get while walking or playing with pet.

  • The calming effect that your pet has an your stressful mood is not a figment if your imagination but they do actually reduce stress levels. Scientific studies have shown that being around your pet releases oxytocin hormone in the brain, giving you a feeling of happiness and it also decreases cortisol, a stress hormone. Pets also have therapeutic effects on people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and help in their early recovery.
  • If you have a dog, taking him or her on a daily walk can help you keep your cholesterol in check. Surveys have also shown that pet owners, especially men, tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Whether you have a dog or a cat, it probably loves to be cuddled and petted. But apart from pleasing your pet, it can also keep your blood pressure level low. Research has revealed that people already taking medication for hypertension got their blood pressure slashed by half after adopting a pet.
  • A person having a pet walks for an average of 300 minutes a week as opposed to a non owner of pet who walks around 168 minutes a week. Lower stress, cholesterol and blood pressure levels combined with more physical activity reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases in pet owners. Among people who are already suffering from heart problems, those who have pets are also likely to live longer than those who don’t.
  • Unlike popular belief, growing up with a pet develops better immunity system in babies. Research shows that infants who were exposed to pets from an early age, like when they were six months or an year old, became less susceptible to allergies and ear infections. Early exposure to allergens make the children better equipped to ward off allergies and asthma.
  • Having a furry friend at home improves social relationships and family bonds. Studies have shown pet owners to be more compassionate and empathetic and it makes them more loving and trusting in their personal relationships. It also brings the family closer, be that by the children taking turns walking the pet or all the members playing with it.

British Psychological Society has published studies showing that pets, especially dogs, promote overall wellbeing of their owners. Pets are known to reduce stress, boost self esteem and give a sense of belonging. The support, love and acceptance that a pet offers work as a therapy for our starved souls and enhances the quality of our lives.

Mekhla Gan

About Mekhla Gan

"The whole world opened to me when I learned to read" and I have been hooked to it ever since. Suspending my own life, cocooning in someone else's imagination and in the process, living a thousand lives is for me the most exhilarating way of experiencing life. Books are what I turn to in my happy and not so happy times for it is in them that I find the words for what I have known all along..


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