by Nirvana
A Business for Social Change
Cost Effective New Housing for the Elderly & Persons With Disabilites
The benefits of owning a pet

The benefits of owning a pet

Owning a four-legged friend has been the norm for humans since time immemorial. Beyond the companionship and affection they provide, pets provide many benefits to us. Over 25 years of research and studies have proven that living with pets provides numerous health benefits. From reducing anxiety to lowering blood pressure, improving heart health and many others, owning a pet has tremendous benefits. Many of these benefits are not limited to a particular type of pet or the owner's age, gender or social status. These benefits accrue to all pet owners and people who love animals.

So, if you own a dog, a cat, a fish or even a hamster, here are four key benefits that you derive from owning a pet:

1. Pets reduce the feelings of loneliness and depression

Having a pet helps you to reduce the feeling of loneliness, especially if you live alone. Pets are great companions. They will walk you dutifully to the door (in cases where you can take them out with you) and be at the door once they hear your car in the driveway or your steps on the stairs. They are always ready to provide a listening ear for you to talk about your awful day, breakup experience or exciting day at work.

Especially for elderly people, studies have shown that walking a dog or feeding a cat reduces depression compared to those who own a pet.

2. Having a pet helps strengthen your heart

After extensive research, pet ownership has been positively linked to improved heart health. A particular study on cardiovascular reactivity to the presence of pets found that people who own pets had lower blood pressure and base heart rates when compared to those who do not.

Owning a pet has also been found to reduce stress levels and thus the risk of a heart attack.

Also, owning a pet keeps you fit, a marker for an improved heart condition. Having a dog means regular walks, an occasional run around the park, cleaning and feeding. Even a rabbit or hamster provides the occasional dash around the house, and you can play fetch with your cat. All these provide a form of exercise and a way to keep fit and strengthen your heart.

3. They help improve your social life

Having a pet provides an easier avenue to make friends and bond with people. It is easier to talk to a stranger about your dog, their cat, and popular cat toys and not run out of what to discuss. Especially if you are not so great with small talks, having your dog by your side provides an endless and safe topic to discuss. You will often find people stop to comment about your dog in the park, pet your cat, or laugh at an imitation by your parrot. You might even meet your next best friend through your dog. Owning a pet provides a good boost to your social life.

4. They help your mental health and confidence level

Pets can be very good for our mental health, especially regarding reducing anxiety and stress and restoring confidence. Pets have been employed in many therapy sessions for patients dealing with mental issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. Having a furry friend to cuddle after a challenging day can have a calming effect and boost the production of happy hormones like oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.
Also, owning a pet boosts your confidence level. The confidence we gain from the opportunity to take care, groom, and nurture a pet encourages us and helps our mental health.

Although owning a pet might mean more work and a lot of responsibilities, the benefits of having one outweigh these costs. Pets bring joy into our lives, serve as faithful companions, listening ears, personal trainers and lots more.