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Top Five Health Benefits to Owning a Pet

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Top Five Health Benefits to Owning a Pet

As of January 2023, 68% of American households own a pet and unsurprisingly that percentage is increasing. Along with companionship, pets can provide many health benefits to their humans. Many scientific studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between pets and the mental health of their owners.

Here are five ways pet ownership can provide healthy benefits to humans.

Reduce Stress

Stress occurs as a primal reaction to danger. When the body’s “fight or flight” response kicks in, with raising heart rate and blood pressure, it keeps the body on edge and feeling stressed. Pets can slow down this response and return your body to its normal state. Being around pets can also decrease cortisol levels and increase levels of oxytocin (the bonding hormone), boosting mood and creating a sense of well-being.

Manages Mental Health

Mental illness comes in many forms like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and the list just goes on. A common challenge for those with a long-term mental health condition or illness is the ability to manage and be engaged with everyday life. Humans with pets develop routines that contribute to emotional and social support. The act of caring for a pet is enough to form a calming routine, sense of control, and certainty to turn to in times of need, which plays a role in helping humans manage their mental health or illness.

Provides Social Support

When we’re out walking or shopping in a store, having an animal with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet. This gives us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits.

Childhood Development

Having children and pets can be exhausting, but it can be beneficial to a child’s development, especially those with developmental challenges. Pets have proven to help children with ADHD focus more when they are in a predictable routine, which pets may provide. And for children with autism, the sensory experience of petting an animal may be soothing.

Provide Companionship

Loneliness is a growing public health epidemic. The bond created between animals and humans helps fill that feeling of loneliness. When owners see, touch, hear or talk to their companion animals, it brings a sense of goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness. Pets don’t care how much money you have, where you live, or what you do for a living, they are always there to love you.

Pets can enrich your life in many ways!