Pet ownership benefits
Pets not only become family members and our best friends, they are also good for our health, both physically and mentally. Pets can create opportunities to exercise, get outside and even socialize, but it doesn’t stop there, they encourage playfulness, help children grow up more secure and active and provide companionship, joy and unconditional love. Here are some of the benefits that research has found:
Physical health benefits include:
- Better cardiovascular health – including decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels and decreased triglyceride levels.
- Increased physical activity as pets, especially dogs help us get outside and exercise and love a good walk no matter the weather!
- Fewer visits to the doctor, one study even found that Australian cat and dog pet ownership saved approximately $3.86 billion in health expenditure in a one-year period.
- Children who have pets are less prone to mild illness, and miss less school days.
Psychological benefits include
- Pets provide an opportunity for more socialisation and help with social skills as they are great conversation starters!
- Playing with pet, like a dog or cat can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, which results in being more calm and relaxed.
- Pet ownership in both children and adults has shown to assist in a higher self-esteem.
- Pet owners have less depression, are less lonely and appear to cope with stress, grief and loss better.
- A study of children showed that pet owners were more social at school and appeared to be more empathetic.
- Pets can be great caregivers, as they keep us company when we need it most, and make us feel safe when we are home alone or even guard the home when we are out.
While people with pets often experience these great health benefits, a pet doesn’t need to be just a cat or dog. Watching fish swim around an aquarium can even help reduce muscle tension and lower heart rates.
It’s important to remember to choose the right pet for you, your home, your budget and your lifestyle. Just considering how much a pet will cost, or how much exercise it needs, or how big it will grow, may change the breed or type of pet you choose. So take your time, choose carefully and remember a pet is for a life.
We would love to see a picture of your pet, their name, their age and all about their personality. Send your pet photos and details to [email protected] and we will publish them in the next COTA Connects newsletter!