Enjoying a pet produces innumerable benefits for our health, said as a conclusion by more than 50 scientific studies where all possible parameters have been analyzed in terms of cardiovascular health, mental health, and the study of the response of numerous diseases.
Although there are also certain risks, such as allergic processes, or transmission of diseases, the reality is that a well-cared for and healthy pet produces many more advantages than inconveniences.
That is why it is important to maintain the responsibility of properly caring for our pets, practicing healthy lifestyle habits with them, taking a good diet tailored to each animal, and following the guidelines that our trusted veterinarian marks.
Here’s what science says about the benefits of having pets.
1. They help you be consistent and organized
Pets, and especially dogs, are organized by nature. They set a military rhythm where they look for food, walk, and games at the same time. This strict regime can benefit us to form ourselves as a person, especially young children.
The moment we neglect our task with pets and do not fulfill “our covenant”, pets will call our attention for not fulfilling their regular schedule.
This routine Constant benefits our brain, an organ that is eager for you to constantly comply with planning, decreasing anxiety and stress in the face of the new and unplanned.
These small obligations to our pets will lay the foundation for educating children in organization and respect for fulfilling our obligations.
2. Reduce mental anxiety
Pets can help relieve stress and anxiety, and foster social and emotional connections, those that have a direct impact on our mood and mental health.
A scientific study developed in 2012 showed that human-animal interactions can benefit stress-related factors, such as:
- Blood pressure.
- Heart rate.
- Reduce stress-related factors (epinephrine and norepinephrine).
- Less aggressiveness.
- Improve empathy.
3. They promote the personal growth of children
Behavior vs. anxiety and personal development of children has been exposed to the Covid 19 pandemic situation, where children could not interact with their friends.
Some recent research has revealed the interaction of different pets (especially dogs and cats, for their greater social interaction with humans) and children, studying their response in the middle of the pandemic and obtaining very favorable conclusions.
- Children learn and practice responsibility.
- Having a pet promotes empathy and the ability to care for another life.
- Reinforcement of children’s global development skills.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving through interaction and play.
- The process of teaching tricks and positive behavior to the pet gives children the opportunity to practice clear, accurate, and meaningful communication skills.
- Interaction with pets helps children manage stress.
- Playing with a pet releases tension, provides the opportunity to participate in companionship, and develops the capacity for reciprocity.
- Pets promote physical and active exchanges and play.
- Playing with pets increases agility and motor competence.
Scientific studies have pointed out that children who enjoy pets in their homes maintain better mood stability, emotional regulation, and better overall health.
4. Reduce allergy and asthma in healthy people and children
Although there is clear evidence that people sensitive to allergic processes aggravate their health when they have pets with hair in front of them, the opposite is totally true in healthy people who could suffer from allergic processes or asthma in the future, even without symptoms today.
An increasing number of scientific studies have suggested that children growing up in a household with furry animals, either a cat or a dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals, will have less risk of allergies and asthma.
This is linked to the reduction of the sensitivity to allergic processes, probably due to the exposure, in very low doses, to the agent that can trigger the allergic process, getting used to it little by little until we become immune.
5. Reduces anxiety in people with Alzheimer’s
Several studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home, confirmed by Dr. Lynette Hart, an associate professor at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
People in stress mode go into a “state of discomfort,” in which harmful chemicals such as cortisol and norepinephrine can adversely affect the immune system. Interaction with pets reduces anxiety and promotes entertainment in people with cognitive impairment problems.
6. Benefits cardiovascular health
In addition to increasing our physical activity when we interact with our pets, the benefits of our cardiovascular health go beyond simple movement.
Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets is linked to several benefits for our hearts, including:
- Decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms.
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities increase cognitive function in older adults and increase opportunities for socializing.
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those who do not have pets.
- People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than people without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure dropped significantly within five months.
- Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate serotonin and dopamine levels, which calm and relax.
- Pet owners have lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol (indicators of heart disease) than those who do not have pets.
- Patients who have recently suffered a heart attack survive longer if they have pets versus those who do not.
- Pet owners over the age of 65 go to the doctor 30% less than those who do not have pets.