It’s been an exhausting day at work and you’re finally home. You open your door and your best furry friend almost tackles you to the ground. And at least temporarily, you’ve forgotten about how tired you feel. There’s no doubt that our pets enhance our lives. And perhaps it will come as no surprise to you that pets can help you live longer.
There is now extensive research that shows the importance of pets to our health. There may be some risks involved in pet ownership depending on the structure of your household. For instance, if you have children under the age of 5, experts recommend that you avoid pets like turtles, lizards and frogs. These animals easily carry diseases that can be spread to children.
Overall, however, a pet can help you and your family enjoy a better quality of life and help you live longer.
In this post, we’ll cover 5 ways your pet is helping you live longer. And then, we’ll cover considerations you should make when you’re choosing a household pet.
Increased opportunities for exercise
We don’t need to convince you that exercise is crucial to your health. There have been more than enough studies over the years proving how beneficial exercise is to your health. If you have trouble getting exercise into your day, getting a pet can clear that problem up!
Dogs especially love to run outside and may regularly need to step outside of the house to go about their bathroom business.
This increases the opportunity for you to step outside of your home and get in at least 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis.
Increased opportunities for social connections
Have you ever walked outside with your pet and had people immediately want to talk to you about your pet? Pets are an excellent opportunity to start conversations with people.
And so apart from keeping you company at home, they are your best partner in meeting new friends. Research shows that social connections and social interactions can improve the quality of a person’s life in significant ways.
This includes your health.
Pets can help you improve your blood pressure
They already help you get exercise that benefits your heart. But, did you know your pets can also help lower your blood pressure? Having a pet, especially a dog is linked to lower blood pressure in their owners as compared to people who don’t have pets.
In one study, researchers found that petting a dog or a cat, has a calming effect on people. When people are relaxed, their blood pressure is lower.
Your pet may help you deal with stress better
When you are relaxed, you tend to handle stress better than people who don’t have that prior advantage. Stress is linked with several adverse health conditions including heart disease and cancer – two of the top causes of death for Americans.
If you can reduce your stress levels, you can reduce the risk for these conditions as well.
Decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels
There is research that shows that having a pet can also reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Doctors think this could be linked to the fact that you are getting more exercise and activity as a pet owner than if you were not.
Having a dog may help your child as well
Dogs in particular are well-known to be effective as therapy animals for children (as well as adults). Therapy dogs can help children with autism. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a report on how therapy dogs reduce anxiety in children.
And just like adults, pets can help your child be more active. Having a pet can also be a powerful way to teach children about taking responsibility for something.
Factors to consider when you’re choosing a pet
As wonderful as pets can be, there are still crucial factors to consider when you’re choosing a pet.
- If someone in your household or family has allergies to pet hair, you might consider choosing a pet without hair.
- Animals regularly carry disease-causing microorganisms that can be deadly to humans. For instance, doctors recommend that pregnant women stay away from cat litter. Cat feces can carry a parasite called Toxoplasma. If a pregnant mother becomes infected with this parasite, it can be transferred to the child and they could develop blindness or mental disability later on in life.
- Stray animals could also carry some of these deadly microorganisms. So make sure to consider your animal source or at least get them to a veterinary doctor for a check-up before you have them in your home.
- If you have trouble with mobility, then you could consider a pet that doesn’t require you to regularly take them out.
- Losing a pet is painful. Children especially take it hard. These are emotions to consider when a pet dies or has to be put down for health reasons.
Finished reading? And ready to get a pet today? Perhaps having a pet will help you live longer?