There’s nothing quite like snuggling up to a purring cat, or your dog’s reaction to your arrival home from work to make you feel unconditionally loved. And, any pet owner can attest that having representatives from the animal kingdom present in our homes (other than ourselves) is always good for some comic relief.
And, while it’s true that pets are excellent snuggle buddies, and a barrel of laughs (except when they destroy things or leave unwelcome surprises), it turns out that having a non-judgmental friend with somewhat poor decision-making skills and an absurd sense of humor isn’t the only reason to keep them around. They’re also actually good for you.
Good For the Ticker
Studies have conclusively proven that pet ownership is good for your cardiovascular health. By simply petting your animal buddies (go ahead, they won’t mind), you lower your blood pressure. And, owning a pet actually limits hypertensive response to stress, in those who suffer from high blood pressure.
Further, heart attack survivors with canine companions tend to fare better than those without. Dog owners had a mere one-in-100 chance of succumbing to cardiac issues in the year following the initial event. Those without dogs had seven times the risk.
Adding to the list of cardiovascular benefits of having a pet is the fact that pet owners tend to get more exercise than the petless. You might not realize you’re getting a workout playing fetch with your pooch, or wrestling with your cat, but every little bit of exercise helps.
Good For the Mind
The health benefits of keeping animals around go beyond the physical. Pets are also good for your mental health.
People coping with anxiety find it easier to maintain a calm mental state if they have a pet to chat with. The chatting is usually one-sided, but pets don’t mind. Pets are a mood booster, too, so they’re great for those dealing with depression.
Pet Pluses For Children
Children raised in homes where pets are present are less likely to develop asthma, allergies, or eczema. Plus, the activities associated with caring for a pet teach children responsibility and empathy. It also doesn’t hurt to have a good listener to vent to when your parents are being so unfair!
Grandma Could Use a Buddy
Keeping pets is great for older folks, too. Taking the dog for a walk in the park is a great way for grandma to get some exercise, but it’s also an excellent way for her to maintain a healthy social life. And, caring for a pet will give her something to do. Grandmas get bored, too.
Pets Need You, Too
By now, you’re probably like, “OK. Obviously, pets are awesome. But, where do I get one? Do I have to catch it? How will I know if it can be tamed?” Calm down.
There are plenty of eager pets available to those who know where to look. The Oregon Humane Society and The Pixie Project are two ideal starting places for Portland residents looking for furry friends. If you don’t live in Portland, just get online and search for humane societies and animal shelters in your area.
[Photo Credit: care2]