We all love our pets, but who knew there were so many benefits for having a furry friend in the home? If you’re considering adopting a pet, this might be just the encouragement that you need to head to your local shelter!
• Physical Fitness ~ People with pets in the home, especially dogs, are often more physically fit than those without pets. Having a dog in the home encourages pet owners to get outside to walk their dogs, which leads to more opportunities for physical fitness.
• The Happy Factor – People living with pets are generally happier, more trusting, and have higher self-esteem than those without.
• The Lonely Cure ~ Although there’s no replacement for family and friends, pets offer a special companionship and an unconditional love that people just can’t match. Studies have shown that even 30 minutes per week with a pet can significantly reduce loneliness among residents of long-term health facilities. In fact, one study showed that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when spending time with people!
• Strong Hearts ~ Studies have linked both heart health and longevity to pet ownership. One study of seniors on Medicare found that those who owned dogs made 21% fewer visits to a physician than those without dogs! Another study determined that the survival rates of heart attack victims who owned pets were 28% higher than those of patients without animal companions.
• Blood Pressure Help ~ Not only does petting your dog or cat soothe your pet, but it can actually lower your blood pressure, too! Research proves that the simple act of petting an animal results in a definite drop in blood pressure. The act of petting your furry friend helps your body release a relaxation hormone and cuts stress hormone levels, too. Studies show that having a pet controls blood pressure spikes even better than blood pressure medicine does!
• Baby Boosters ~ Babies who grow up in homes with pets have interesting benefits, too. Research has shown that babies living with cats or dogs in the home during infancy have fewer colds, allergies, ear infections, and are less likely to develop asthma than those without pets.
• Alzheimer’s Relief ~ Studies have revealed that people suffering with Alzheimer’s have fewer outbursts when pets are present in the home. One study found in the Western Journal of Nursing Research showed that even having pet fish in an aquarium helped Alzheimer’s patients who tended to pace sit longer and helped more lethargic patients become more attentive. This study linked the presence of the aquarium to an improvement in eating at mealtimes which then led to healthy weight gain for patients.
Of course, with all of the extra responsibility and work involved, owning a pet isn’t for everyone. However, for those of us who are lucky enough to live with pets in our homes, the benefits FAR outweigh the trouble!
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