The endless benefits of owning a pet

By on July 30, 2013

If you are here, we probably don’t need to tell you, but owning a pet can bring many benefits. Also, if you’re a pet person, we don’t have to tell you how gratifying it is to be the loving owner of a furry feline or loyal dog who knows how much you care. Really and truly, there are few things more satisfying than knowing you are responsible for a little one, whether it’s a child, cat, dog, or otherwise, and embracing that responsibility. We love our pets, and as we treat them with loving care, there are endless inherent benefits of having a four-legged friend.

There are, as we know, so many every day perks to having a pet. Many of us wake up to a wet nose and a smile that says, “Good morning!” Having that companion by your side while you are reading the paper, watching the tube, or exercising is a luxury not to take for granted either. And how about when your best buddy greets you at the door each time you arrive back home? Little can cheer up a person as quickly as that kind of sight for sore eyes. Not only do these things make owners smile and laugh, providing fleeting moments of joy each day, but there are scientifically proven health benefits to owning a pet, too!

WebMD, the foremost online health Web site, lists 5 health benefits that can result from owning a pet. There’s a quick summary of the list below, plus more proof cats are great for your health here from Kitty Insight.

1. Recent studies have shown that kids who grow up around “furred animals” are actually less likely to develop pet allergies. Conventional thinking told us otherwise, but more and more research indicates that pets can actually become “allergy fighters.”

2. Here’s one that comes a bit out of left field, but we can see its merits…Pets (dogs especially, says the article) are natural conversation starters and having yours alongside during a stroll in the park or visit to the pet store can actually increase your chances of making a love connection. The article quotes a behavioral doctor who believes that dogs can be a buffer that brings people together. Sometimes the humans interact around the dog, keeping conversations strictly about the dog, but other times, a real social interaction can take place. All because of Fido, you could find the love of your life. Who knew?

3. Pets prove to be beneficial to the health of nearly everyone, but especially aged citizens. Fewer anxious outbursts can result from the calming influence a pet can provide, the article states, and caregivers for the elderly testify to the burden-lessening power that animals can often provide. It’s even revealed that one insurance company asks the elderly whether they have a pet before providing coverage because it believes that therapeutic benefits are provided by the pets their insured clients own.

4. Echoing some of the obvious benefits mentioned earlier about everyday things pets do to make us feel good, pets can be beneficial for our mind, body, and spiritual well being. The WebMD article indicates that AIDS patients feel less depressed in the company of a pet. Pets also provide general happiness, which releases certain chemicals like serotonin in the body, making us smile and develop a sunnier outlook on things. Dopamine and other chemicals found in the body are elevated as pleasure rises and we all know the amount of happiness our pets can bring us. The article even goes so far to say that there’s a link between pets and decreased likelihoods for things like heart disease. If that’s not enough proof for you to get a dog, cat, or other furry friend, we don’t know what to tell you…

5. The final benefit also has to do with the risk of heart disease and surviving heart attacks: “Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than non-owners, researchers say.” If you don’t have a pet, tell us why again?

Wiley pup, in addition, has a comprehensive guide to the overall health benefits that result from having a dog. Click here to see it.

Women’s Day also lists health benefits that result from pet ownership. Having a pet can, among other things, lower blood pressure, ease pain, decrease stress, lower cholesterol, improve moods, increase socialization, prevent strokes, develop immunity to disease and allergies, and aid in the development of children.

We’re not doctors or scientists here at PetsInOmaha, but we believe what they say. Not only because the above information comes from reputable sources, but because we’ve seen the benefits first hand. As animal owners and lovers, we’ve felt the happiness that our pets bring us. We’ve been calmed in moments of stress or panic because of a dog’s smile or a cat’s funny sleeping position. That sloppy kiss or gentle pawing at the foot of the bed in the morning always brightens our days immediately. These things are real and we see them each day.

Once again, it doesn’t really need to be said, but owning a pet is about as gratifying of a life experience as one can have.

What is your experience with health benefits as a result of having a pet? Comment below with your stories. How about just the little things that bring you the most happiness from being a pet owner? We’d love to hear those, too! If you are so inclined, tweet your favorite “little thing” your pet does for you to @PetsInOmaha using the hashtag, #petbenefit today.


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