*Sponsored post. Reflections my own.*
The classic saying “dogs are a man’s best friend” may be more on the money than previously imagined.
A host of recent studies have shown that dogs and pets, can provide a range of mental and physical health benefits to their owners.
Pets reduce stress
Pets make great therapists! We’ve all done it – come home from a hard day at work and had a gripe with the dog, cat or even fish. The simple act of venting, (and having a cuddle) is often enough to take the load off and let you relax. It doesn’t matter that they can’t reply!
Studies indicate that having a pet with you during a stressful situation reduces anxiety significantly. This keeps your blood pressure at suitable levels and decreases your risk of stroke or heart attack. Additionally, a recent Loyala University study found that for chronic pain sufferers, pet therapy reduced anxiety and associated pain in patients. This resulted in less dependence on painkillers, and better quality of life.
Anecdotally, having a pet can also be good for a laugh. If you choose an animal with a lot of personality, you could be laughing for years to come. Whether it’s a disgruntled parrot or a goofy dog providing the entertainment, laughter can be the best medicine.
Get active with your pet!
Obviously this depends on what type of pet you get. You’ll be less likely to get fit looking after a guinea pig than a horse or dog. Getting outside for regular exercise is important. Exercise releases endorphins (which act as a mood booster). Exercise also helps strengthen your heart and keep your waistline in check. This reduces your risk of heart attack and keeps your companion healthy in the process.
Animals provide companionship
The fact that pets provide fantastic companionship and reduce loneliness will likely be no surprise. Research indicates that the companionship of pets results in reduced depression and improved self-esteem. Because of this, pets can become essential support animals for those suffering from PTSD, depression and other mental health disorders.
Pets teach children social skills
Animals are great teachers, particularly for children. Kids who grow up around pets tend to have better social skills. They learn to empathize, take responsibility, and care for others. For kids with autism, dogs can provide essential emotional support which makes everyday social situations easier. Want to introduce a dog to into your family? Select a breed that is good with children.
Pets can help you feel safe
Sometimes living alone can be unsettling. Training a guard dog is a great way to reduce those fears, whilst gaining a loyal companion in the process. Due to the stress reducing properties of pet ownership, just having a pet (even if it’s a goat) can help you feel more comfortable while living alone.
Pets can improve immunity in kids
Children who grow up in households with pets tend to have better immune systems and be much healthier as a result. They are also less likely to experience allergic reactions.