Life is precious. We are always looking at ways to prolong and improve our lives. Pets not only give us companionship and unconditional love, they have a key part in the quality of our life. Here are some ways our pets improve our life on a regular basis:
When you’re home it’s almost impossible to ignore your pet that’s probably begging for your attention. Even if it’s after a long day of work, it’s hard to just sit on the couch or lay in bed without showing your pet some attention. You are more likely to go on daily walks and be more active when you have a lively dog. Even with a furry friend, you are bound to drag a toy across the room for entertainment. This regular activity has been said to help reduce pet parents’ blood pressure and make you less likely to get heart disease.
Natural stress reducers
When petting your dog or cat a relaxation hormone is released that helps sooth and ease any stress, also potentially lowering your blood pressure. Studies have suggested that pets reduce stress more than human support at times. Physiology helps explain why animals are such effective therapists for all of us. Simply petting an animal can decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boost release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate and, possibly, in elevated mood. People may draw more support from their furry friends and it makes sense. Isn’t it a guarantee your pet won’t judge you? Therapy pets have also become a common service and have long been the trusted companions of people with disabilities.
You’ve got a friend
It’s a great feeling to know someone is always there for you, unconditionally no matter how you feel or look on any given day. And if you are a pet parent then you know what I’m talking about. Pets give a sense of belonging and meaning permitting you to feel less alone in the world. Bonding with an animal can help fill a void with social support and, from dogs in particular, unconditional love. The unconditional love and respect a pet shows makes us feel supported and allows us to be a happier, less negative person.
Face it. Pets are always the center of our attention and whether that means you’re entertained just by watching them or talking about them, present or not, they will always help give you opportunities to connect to people. Pets can also foster human connections for their owners. Take a dog for a ramble and strangers who would never dream of approaching you in other situations will strike up a conversation centered on the animal. Even a mere smile from a passerby is a connection that can brighten your day. They can make us laugh, comfort us when we’re sick or upset, and are always there for us and those we love.
Reduced risk of allergies
Interestingly enough studies have shown that being around pets early in life can reduce the risk of developing allergies. The department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin did a study that found early exposure to dogs reduced the risk of developing some allergy diseases.
Bonus: Exercise buddy
If your pet is a dog, especially an active one that loves walking, that can yield a second, equally important benefit: physical exercise, which is also key to a brain-healthy lifestyle. Brisk walking (at least 3 mph, around 20 minutes per mile) qualifies as moderate-intensity activity.
So if you weren’t already fully gratified by your beloved pet, now you really are. With all the added benefits, no wonder over 77 million dogs and over 85 million cats are owned just in the United States alone! We need them and they need us. It’s a priceless union.