Having a pet is good for us and makes us happy, but did you know that they have also been shown to help fight stress? Research conducted by researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York, and published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, revealed that animals bring numerous benefits: they reduce tension and stress. Petting or playing with your dog or cat is a real cure-all.
Benefits of having a pet
Following are the benefits of having a pet at home:
- lower blood pressure and regularize heart rate;
- improve the psychological well-being of the individual, as the playful relationship with the pet allows you to release tensions and promote positive thinking;
- effectively counteract loneliness and the sense of alienation;
- reduce the level of stress, as simple and authentic communication with the animal produces a relaxing effect;
- increase the sense of responsibility, as the relationship with a pet implies a commitment to take care of him;
- foster empathic feeling, as the animal is able to communicate on a deeper level with the human being;
- overcome self-centeredness and foster a sense of communion with nature and the animal world.
Pets help reduce stress
A good dose of exercise , a little meditation, talking to a doctor or taking medicine are just some of the remedies for stress.
However, those who have a pet know perfectly well that to get rid of everyday tensions, there is nothing better than taking a walk or playing with your four-legged friend. On the contrary, often to cheer up, it is sufficient to pat your dog or cat.
Animals counteract stress and are also able to control the effects that this tension causes on the human organism.
Thus, people living with a pet have:
- A better cardiovascular response to stress
- Stable cholesterol
Other advantages of living with animals
If you are still not convinced that having a pet is good for your health, we show you other reasons to convince yourself to adopt one:
- You will do more physical activity because you will go for a walk or play with your four-legged friend. And exercising, as we know, increases the levels of endorphins in the brain and with them the feeling of pleasure and well-being.
- You will have more social life because you will relate to other pet owners (during walks in the park or while you are in the vet’s waiting room).
- If there are children in the house, they will learn to be more responsible, more generous and more empathetic with other living beings. It has also been shown that during the “critical age” (during the first year of life) that proximity to animals can have allergological protection effects. In fact, many researches have shown that children living with dogs or cats are less likely to be allergic .
Benefits of Pet to Children: growing up with pets
A growing number of studies indicate that animals can be a source of emotional and social support for children and adolescents, especially during stressful or difficult situations. Animals like dogs and horses are able to catalyze relationships between peers, thus increasing the number of social relationships of children and young people.
This aspect is particularly important considering that a child’s developmental modalities strongly depend on the influence of his social network from which he draws support, with a resultant promotion of the individual’s mental health through a protective function from psychosocial stress.
Another interesting field of research investigates the effect of growing up in close contact with other species on children’s cognitive development. A growing number of studies indicate how the presence of animals, especially dogs, is able to promote learning in children through physiological, psychological and social effects.
In recent years, programs involving the introduction of a dog into the classroom to refine children’s reading skills (known as “Reading with dogs”) have become increasingly popular, thanks to preliminary evidence on the improvement of certain parameters such as the understanding of words and punctuation in children participating in these interventions.
1. Having pets teaches children to care:
The gaze of young children is eager for stimuli . Of things to see, touch and interact with. If a pet lives with them since they are very young, they will be able to obtain the following benefits:
Being subjected to continuous stimulation, different from that offered by the father or mother. Having someone who is always on the go around them, a friend to stroke or play with. Little creatures that always look after them.
Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits… children consider them as important “members” within the family context. Someone to observe, care for and respect .
2. Pets teach children to be responsible
There are parents who adopt a pet as long as the child takes responsibility for it. But then they are the ones to take care of the animals. Well, this shouldn’t happen, we explain why.
Having a pet at home is everyone’s responsibility , not exclusively for children, nor only for parents. Children must learn early on that the animal is one more member of the family, and as such, it needs and deserves the same attention from everyone.
Sharing the responsibility of these animals is a way of balancing them all. The dog or cat will be the first living beings that the child will take care of , they will see them grow up, get sick and will discover that like us they are cold, hungry and that we must be responsible for taking care of them.
Early responsibility is a way to mature . But remember, this is something that needs to be shared between everyone, so teach your children how to feed them, when to take them for a walk, how to clean the litter box in which the cat does his business or how to take responsibility for the aquarium.
3. Having pets helps in Optimal emotional development of children
Animals are great wizards of emotions. Who would question it? They are faithful friends who can give us a smile when we need it most, those who sit next to us when we feel alone. Pets, dogs, cats… are those essential pieces that give us love for free . Without expecting anything in return.
If children grow up with them, they will more easily develop their emotional skills. They will have greater empathy in recognizing whether their dog is quiet, cheerful or restless. They will know how important it is to respect others and will discover the importance of looking after, respecting, caressing, accompanying … they are wonderful friends, at any stage of their life.
How does Having pets benefit the Elderly
There is no doubt that animals such as dogs or cats improve the mental and physical health of older people . Animal therapies have made progress in this regard, and it has been found that the elderly can reap numerous benefits. Taking care of their little friend, taking him for a walk, playing with him or feeding him makes people active, makes them feel less alone and allows them to interact socially.
For these reasons, owning a pet makes you feel good, while adults can reap real physical, mental and social benefits from it. In fact, pets help to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, allow you to exercise, socialize and reduce loneliness. Whether it’s a dog or a cat, seniors will enjoy their company.
Having pets improves Physical health of the elderly
According to several studies, people who own a dog tend to be more physically active and less obese . Adults over the age of 65 who have no health problems would need at least two and a half hours of physical activity per week. Walking a dog for 30 minutes with slow walking, or walking for 15 minutes, are ways to satisfy this need.
On the other hand, some studies suggest that pet owners have lower blood pressure and a lower heart rate than other people. An elderly person who owns a dog or cat will be forced to move and play with him. Keeping active improves people’s mood considerably, as well as allowing those elderly people who live alone to connect with other people, without staying indoors watching television.
Having a dog has been proven to reduce the risk of getting a heart attack, and increase the chance of surviving for up to an extra year if they have already suffered from this problem . The owners of animals in old age, walking with their dog, do exercise ensuring fewer visits to the doctor.
Having pets improves Emotional health of the elderly
As we’ve already mentioned, owning a pet and playing with it has been shown to help eliminate stress . Interaction with animals has also proved to be an effective alternative medicine treatment, as a remedy for depression. Your pet will always be available to listen to you.
You are not alone. Importantly, a pet can be of great help to those seniors who have recently suffered the loss of a spouse or loved one.
Having a dog or cat certainly means caring for their well-being, talking to them, and sometimes even sleeping together. In fact, there are studies showing that the tendency to own pets increases considerably in divorced, widowed or separated people.
On the other hand, pets, and especially dogs, tend to foster social contacts between adults and other people. When you take a dog for a walk it is not uncommon to meet other owners in the company of your dogs, and many times you stop to chat between owners wondering the age of their respective dogs, the breed, the name … questions about our 4-legged friends?
Inside nursing homes, the presence of a dog is associated with a reduced need for medical attention, an improvement in physical functions and vital signs, even in the cases of elderly people suffering from dementia . The list of benefits includes decreased pressure, increased willingness to participate, well-being, nutrient ingestion and better social interaction.
Having pets increases happiness
Hundreds of scientific studies have shown how animals can bring happiness to older people’s lives and help them significantly improve their health.
A line of research on aging shows that animal therapies generate hormones that affect people’s mood.
Numerous investigations in this area suggest that the hormonal changes that normally occur in the interaction between dogs and humans could help people fight depression and other stress-related problems. According to the preliminary results, stroking an animal for a few minutes causes a release of certain hormones (serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin) that are used to feel good.
Having pets improves memory and helps fight alzymer
Finally, further research has highlighted how animals can improve memory in older adults , due to the fact that a reduction in stress levels causes older adults to lose memory more slowly.
In short, if you have decided to adopt a pet, you will be less stressed, healthier and happier.
What are you waiting for to adopt a pet? Besides receiving selfless love, you will be much better off both physically and psychologically.