Today, our veterinary team at Limehouse Veterinary Clinic in Glendale talks about some of the health and mood-boosting benefits of owning a pet and other factors you should take into consideration.
How Owning a Pet Can Benefit Your Health
All types of pets can offer you health benefits, not just dogs and cats. A rabbit could be ideal if you’re allergic to other animals or have limited space but still want a furry friend to snuggle with. Birds can encourage social interaction and help keep your mind sharp if you’re an older adult. Snakes, lizards, and other reptiles can make for exotic companions. Even watching fish in an aquarium can be calming and help reduce stress.
Below our vets at Limehouse Veterinary Clinic have listed a few of the benefits you can get from owning a pet:
- Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which produce a calming and relaxing feeling.
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- Pet owners over the age of 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
- Some studies have shown lower rates of blood pressure and cholesterol levels amongst pet owners.
Other Benefits of Having a Pet
In addition to the health benefits detailed above, owning a pet can also:
- Add structure to your day. Many people benefit from having a routine, and a pet can help with that. On the days you might have struggled getting out of bed, a pet can help provide you with the motivation you need to start your day.
- Provide companionship. Everyone needs companionship and a pet is a great way to get it. Caring for an animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most pet owners talk to their pets and animals can't ever judge what you are saying.
- Help you meet new people. Pets can help you meet new people, whether it's out walking, at the pet shop, or at an event (try looking up a pet expo near you)!
- Increase your exercise levels. This is especially true if you have a dog. Taking your pup for a run, walk, hike, or even to the park to play is an easy way to get some extra steps every day. Exercising and playing with your pet also helps keep your pet healthy and less likely to have behavioral issues.
Seniors & Pets
Many seniors, particularly those that live alone can benefit from the companionship a pet offers. Pets can help older adults find a newfound meaning and joy in life. Choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter, especially an older pet, can add to your sense of fulfillment, knowing that you’ve provided a home to a pet that may otherwise have been euthanized.
Pets could also give you a sense of connection, especially if you own a dog. Dogs are a great way to start conversations and meet new people.
Older adults that have pets also report an increase in vitality. Dogs, cats, and other pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help increase your energy and boost your immune system.
Children & Pets
Pets can be an excellent addition to a child's life. They can provide a soothing presence, be a companion, and teach your child responsibility.
Studies have also shown that children that have behavioral problems, like hyperactivity or aggression, can benefit from owning an animal. Of course, both the animal and the child have to be taught to behave appropriately with each other, but the pet can teach your child understanding, empathy, and patience.
If you are considering a pet for your child, be sure to pick one that you also won't mind taking care of, especially if you have a young child. Even kids with the best intentions of playing with the dog every day or cleaning the kitty litter box may need some adult help once and a while.
Other Factors To Consider
Now that we have discussed all the perks of owning a pet, there are some additional points we need to cover. Having a pet is not a cure-all for poor mental or physical health. While pet ownership can certainly help you on your way to a healthy lifestyle, it is still important to seek proper medical attention if needed.
It is also important to remember that owning a pet is a big commitment. If you don't have the proper time or funds to successfully raise an animal, owning a pet could end up causing more stress than if you didn't own one.
Before starting your journey of pet ownership, be sure to research, budget, and plan, to be sure you and your new friend will have a long and happy life together.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always consult with a vet before making medical decisions for your pet.