A dog is a man’s best friend. It is a well-known saying and many people consider their dog or cat their closest and best companions. While both cats and dogs offer great companionship, dogs offer a wider array of benefits for us humans. They are great as a companion, but also offer protection, can be a helper and sometimes a lifesaver. Lonely people are often recommended to get a dog or a cat, and for good reason. Research shows that pets can really increase happiness and well-being. So let’s look at these friends with benefits and why pets make you happier and healthier.
Pets are a big responsibility. When you choose to get a pet, you must be able and willing to provide the best possible care. This means you will need the time, energy and money for food, to make sure your pet gets the best possible care. This is true for any species, whether it be a dog, cat, fish or rat. Still, the number of pets is enormous and the pandemic has caused more people to take a pet due to being confined to their houses and the social isolation. The American Pet Product Association shows that 67% of American households own a pet, which means almost 85 million homes. The total spending on pet products increased to a staggering $ 103.6 Billion in 2020. So this shows that many people keep one or more pets. So there must be something to it right? Research proves that pet ownership has a positive effect on psychological and physical well-being. Not only will they make you happier, but they also make you healthier! This is great news, especially nowadays!
There are few things more comforting than coming home after a long day at the office and being welcomed home by your pet. Pets are always happy to see you – well at least the more furry ones – and they are perfect for forgetting a stressful day.
A study looked into people who had to do stressful tasks, while keeping their dogs close by. A control group did the tasks alone, while other groups had either their spouse or dog present, or both. It comes to no surprise that the groups with the dogs present, showed the lowest stress response and the fastest recovery of stress.
There are many studies – and as a dog owner, I can concur – that just spending time with your pets releases oxytocin in your body. This hormone makes you feel happy and promotes feelings of peace, bliss and a deeper connection. So just being around your dog makes you feel better. And this is not just for dogs! Cats also offer the same great benefit. Stroking your cat will release oxytocin in your blood, as well as in the cat’s blood. Furthermore, the cat’s purring will resonate in your body and make you actually heal faster! And a study has also proven that looking at a fish tank for 30 minutes, makes you was more happy than just looking at regular walls. It’s time to bring your pets to your office!
So it is clear that pets make you happier and help you relieve stress. But there are more benefits to your health and well-being. Here are just a few:
- Pets give their owners greater self-esteem.
- Due to walking your dog, many dog owners are showing an increased fitness.
- Pets make people feel less lonely and more socially outgoing.
- People with pets in general feel less depressed and less stressed.
- Pets can benefit your relationships.
- People who own a pet seem to be better in caring for not just their pets, but also for other humans.
- Faster healing when you have a purring cat at your lap.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Help you get more resistant against allergies and asthma.
- Owning a pet gives you more purpose in life; you have somebody to care for.
Apart from all these science based health benefits, there are also the less scientific, yet cool benefits of owning a pet:
- You always have somebody to talk to.
- They love you unconditionally.
- They are always there for you.
- They are always happy.
- Many pets just feel nice, soft and warm, except for maybe fish and reptiles.
It is clear that pets are more than just an animal living in your house. They truly are your companions and your friends. Not only that, but pets make you happier and healthier, and this might be the reason that many people value pets over other people. Due to the responsibilities and the contact, it sometimes feels like a human relationship.
We can recommend getting a pet if you have the means to take good care of him or her. This should always be the first thing on your mind when you consider getting a pet. Apart from all the benefits, it also has its drawbacks, like it limits you in your freedoms or at least makes you think about when and where to go. And then there is the hair, in the case of a dog or cat. But we think the advantages and the fact they just make you smile each and every day, far outweighs any disadvantages!
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