If you’ve ever owned a pet, you are well aware how much fun and affection they can bring. But did you know that pets also come with some powerful mental and physical health benefits? There is no doubt about it: Animals can make people feel good. And the ones you love most can help you stay well. You may be surprised at just how many ways a pet can improve your health.
Pets Boost your Mood
Spending only a few minutes each day watching a fish swim or loving on your cat or dog can make you feel calmer and less stressed. There is actually a physical change that your body experiences in that time that makes a difference in your mood. The stress hormone, cortisol, lowers. And the chemical, seratonin, that makes you feel good increases.
Pets Help Ease Depression
Not too many others love you without condition other than your pet. Your pet will listen to you talk for hours if you need it. You also might feel more calm when you pet a cat or dog. Also, when you take care of an animal — take it for a walk, groom it, play with it — takes you away from your own thoughts and helps you feel better about the way you choose to spend your time.
Pet Boost Your Fitness
If you have a dog, it’s likely that you are probably more active than someone who does not have one. A 30-minute daily walk with your pet helps keep you active and moving. You could even split it up and take two 15-minute walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. Add in a game of fetch in the yard with your dog and you’ll get even better results.
Pets Help Us Make More Connections
A key to a healthy mind is to stay connected with others. You are likely to see pet owners talking with one another while taking their dogs out for walk. A dog is a conversation waiting to happen. Try going to a dog park to socialize with other owners while your pets play. You’ll be surprised the new friends you might make.
Pets Help us Have Fewer Allergies & Stronger Immunity
When children have a dog or cat in the home growing up, they are less likely to develop allergies. It is also true for those children who live on a farm with large animals. Higher levels of certain immune system chemicals show a better immune system, which will help keep them healthy as they grow older.