Are you a part of the 62% of Americans who own a pet? If so, you most certainly experience the countless health benefits of caring for your furry companion. Pets allow you to experience the great outdoors more, give structure to your life, increase socialization, and decrease feelings of loneliness. Let us dig a little deeper and learn more about the health benefits of owning a pet!
A Happy Life
Miami University performed a few studies on pets with exciting results that they then published in the 2011 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. One study found that people with pets showed higher self-esteem, thus leading to a better relationship with oneself and others. People in the study reported feeling more conscientiousness and more open to new experiences. This contributes to developing a more extroverted personality and increasing your sociability. The study also concluded that pets can be meaningful social support in our lives.
A Healthy Life
In addition to improving one’s happiness, there are also several health benefits of owning a pet. According to the study, pet owners exercised more, showed better physical fitness, and had reduced stress levels. Any doctor will tell you that regular exercise is essential to living a longer and healthier life, and feeling stressed is extremely harmful to your well-being. Exercise helps prevent numerous health problems like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. The CDC also promotes the benefits of owning a pet. It states that pets can decrease your cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and lower blood pressure.
A Longer Life
A happier and healthier life sounds great, but what about living longer? Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of Eden Alternative, conducted a lively experiment during his time as a physician in a nursing home. Disenchanted by the quality of life his patients experienced, he decided to do something radical. He purchased four dogs, eight cats, and four hundred parakeets for the nursing home. Dr. Thomas hoped that this addition of life and spontaneity would make a dramatic difference in his patients’ lives.
The results were incredible. Dr. Thomas immediately noticed a difference in the behaviors of the residents. For example, a man who had not spoken in months vocalized his interest in having a birdcage in his room, and would talk to the birds regularly. The most dramatic results revealed a plummeting death rate at the facility. Residents lived longer and with 30% less medication! These animals clearly made residents healthier and happier.
Conclusion, Get a Pet!
Do not replace medications with owning a pet. But, if you are able and want to reduce your stress, live a more exciting life, have a healthier life, and have more chances to get outdoors, get a pet! Caring for another living being will not only give you a more structured and purposeful life, you will also have a new companion with whom to share your life. Get a pet today and reap the health benefits of owning a pet!