Can A Pet Really Improve Your Health

Can A Pet Really Improve Your Health

Dogs have long been known as man’s best friend but did you know that pets in general can make us both physically and mentally healthier? In fact, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals /RSPCA/, simply having our pets around us can lift our spirits and help us relax.

Dog running with a toy in its mouth

Interestingly, the RSPCA also says that Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership around the world. One study even found that thanks to the average Aussie’s love of cats and dogs, our precious pets have saved us approximately $3.86 billion in health expenditure in one certain year.

Physical Health Benefits That Owning a Pet Can Lead To

  • Improved cardiovascular health resulting in lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Fewer visits to the doctor.

  • Children developing stronger immune systems which reduces the risk of allergies. In turn, this sees kids with pets taking less sick days at school.

Another one of the physical health benefits that really caught our eye was an increase in physical activity. Of course, it makes sense as pets (especially dogs) encourage us to get out and about. Who needs a personal trainer when you’ve got a pet to drag you outside regardless of the weather?

Here are some other quirky facts from the Better Health Channel based on findings from selected studies:

  • People who walk their dogs are seen by others as being friendly and approachable.

  • Patients waiting in dentist surgeries found watching fish swim around an aquarium was as effective as hypnosis in terms of reducing stress.

Psychological Benefits Linked To Pet Ownership

  • Pet owners tend to suffer less from depression and are able to cope with grief, stress and loss better than those without a pet.

  • Pets have been known to enhance social connectedness – by all accounts, they’re great conversation starters!

  • Pets act as a constant source of support. After all, they keep us company when we’re feeling down or are sick. The Better Health channel even cites this non-judgemental companionship/unconditional love as increasing people’s self-esteem.

While there’s no doubt that pets can be very positive for kids, they also pose a lot of health benefits for older people. Transitioning from working full-time or part-time to retirement, is one of the biggest changes in life and one that many find difficult to adapt to.

And it’s only natural that as we age, we sometimes lose loved ones. Pets can assist older people in:

  • Enjoying life: Caring for a pet can add meaning to people’s lives and provide companionship at a time when family and friends may not always be present.

  • Help people to connect: Regardless of age, pets can help people to find a common interest and to meet new people.

  • Keep fit: Pets are playful in nature and often get people moving. They can make people laugh and boost energy levels.

While they can be a bit of a handful at times, it’s clear that owning a pet is advantageous to most people.

And hey, they can be a much-needed and constant source of support and happiness at times, don’t you think?

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