When you become one of the proud pet owners of the world, you join a group of individuals who enjoy health benefits non-pet owners don’t have access to. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sound off about the health benefits of pets!
Pets provide their owners with stress-relief and lowered blood pressure. But they also alleviate depression and loneliness, too. In studies, it’s been shown that elderly individuals who have pets to care for stay independent for a longer time than elderly people who live alone.
The CDC explains that aside from blood pressure and depression health benefits, pets also lower cholesterol levels and Triglycerides. They help you get more exercise and contribute to your own socialization.
Studies have shown that as few as five minutes of interaction with a therapy dog can provide instant stress-reduction benefits. Dogs aren’t going to judge you or react to your disabilities, your age, or your beauty. They’re non-discriminating pets that love their owners no matter what.
Studies conducted in Alzheimer’s patients shoed that providing dog therapy for one hour a day for four consecutive days reduced the apathy that the patients had for their lives. And other pet therapy, such as the use of aquariums, was shown to increase appetite and reduce aggression in patients with dementia.
Animals of all sorts provide health benefits – not just domesticated pets! A 10-year old boy with cerebral palsy was allowed to interact with a tame elephant over a period of time. The biological response to these episodes was an improved outlook on life and a chemical change in serotonin levels.
Prisoners have also been given the responsibility of pet ownership to help cultivate a sense of caring and method of coping with depression. When given a cat to care for in the confinement of the prison, the inmates who took part in the program reported an increase in self-esteem.
No one knows exactly why the interaction with pets has such a positive effect on human health, but it’s been documented with a variety of animals – from dolphins to dogs. It may be that we feel comfortable trusting an animal that isn’t judgmental with us.
Whether it’s to boost your physical health or assist you in developing a better mental outlook, becoming a pet owner can dramatically change the way you live – for the better!