Feeling happier and more relaxed around Fido or Fluffy? It’s not just your imagination — there’s actually science at work.
There’s been plenty of research done on pets and how they influence our health. Countless studies have shown that pets are indeed good for our health and wellbeing.
Sure, there are numerous therapy programs involving support animals that provide benefits on the regular. But even just our household pets that provide companionship can give our mental and physical wellbeing a boost, just by being themselves. They really can have a profound effect!
Don’t believe me? Here are just a few ways pets can be seriously beneficial to living our best lives.
Pets Can Improve Your Mood
If spending time with your pet seems to make you feel better, it’s because hanging out with our animals can cause a higher release of certain “feel good” hormones. Our pets can actually can raise our serotonin levels, as well as increase the release of prolactin and oxytocin, too.
It’s also been proven that just petting your fur or feather babies can decrease the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
In other words, just hanging out with your pet can boost your mood and improve your mental health.
They Provide Companionship
Pet’s are obviously amazing, non-judgmental companions, right? They can ease feelings of loneliness and are often there for us even when friends and family may not be. Having a year-round, 24-hour-a-day emotional support system is definitely a huge perk, and also a boost to our self-esteem.
Plus, they can also make you more social, which can lead to a more fulfilled life overall.
They Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, pets can help lower your risk of heart disease. And this is particularly true for our canine companions. Yep, that’s right, having a pet could legitimately extend your life. It’s both from the social support that pets provide, plus the increased physical activity associated with caring for a pet.
There are plenty of studies out there that indicate pets can have all kinds of heart-healthy benefits: from lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, to keeping stress at bay. Clearly, our pets are good for our hearts!
Pets Help Keep You Active
This one is particularly true for dogs, but can also apply with other pets, too. Your pet can help you get more exercise and stay active. In fact, research shows that adults who regularly walk their dogs were less likely to become obese, versus those who don’t.
And of course, staying active provides plenty of health benefits. Obviously, exercise can provide plenty of physical health benefits, but getting up and moving is also an important part of taking care of our mental and emotional health, too.