The mental and physical health benefits of owning a pet

October 10, 2022
Aspire Blog - Stock photo representing the mental and physical health benefits of owning a pet

If you are a pet owner, you already know how much your furry friend improves your quality of life. The unconditional love we feel for our pets, and they for us, is undisputed. But more and more we are hearing about the benefits to our physical health, emotional health, and mental well-being. So, if you are debating an addition to the family, read on to discover some incredible mental and physical health benefits of owning a pet.

1. Pets help you get more exercise

It’s no surprise that dog owners are more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise. Whether throwing a Frisbee or simply taking a stroll, dog owners get outside and move. The physical activity boosts heart health. On top of that, just being outdoors has been shown to improve mental health and reduce stress. The levels of Vitamin D, essential for fighting depression and building a healthy immune system, are raised from spending time outdoors.

2. Pets can boost heart health

Pets can boost heart health in other ways, too. Just interacting with a dog has been shown to have health benefits. A 2007 UCLA study showed that patients suffering from heart failure had improved cardiopulmonary pressures, healthier neurohormone levels, and less stress after a 12-minute visit with a dog. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just having a dog around helps lower blood pressure. Animals, particularly dogs, are often used to help manage stress. Researchers have found that people who have their pets around show less stress during stressful tasks. Cats, known for being low maintenance, are particularly good for reducing stress. All pets decrease the level of stress-more than even a spouse, family member, or close friend. This improvement in emotional health makes us more resilient, self-confident, and able to develop strong, healthy relationships.

3. Pets promote social interaction

They act as an icebreaker, increasing the opportunities to meet your neighbors. It’s no surprise that dog owners are more likely to form new friendships. Cats, rabbits, snakes, or any other pet can also help foster those connections.

Things to consider before owning a pet

Before getting a pet, consider if you are physically, mentally, and financially able to care for it. Take the pet’s size into consideration, and avoid puppies, which require a great deal of training, time, and energy.  Consider seeking expert advice on the type of pet that will be the best companion for you and thrive in your home

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