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  • Healthwest Team

The Health Benefits of Having Pets?

Pet ownership and caring for one can be beneficial for our physical and mental health. A pet can be a loyal friend and also become a valuable member of your family that provides companionship and comforting love.

The bond that develops with pets can be as strong as the bond between two people.

Offering Companionship

Dogs, specifically, provide a feeling of safety and help keep you active. They can also bring companionship to those who might otherwise suffer from loneliness or depression. Mature adults, especially those who've lost a spouse, can find comfort in a pet. They often go through a period of feeling as if they're no longer needed, but owning a pet can fill that need.

Helping Children

Children who are shy can benefit greatly from having a pet as they can help draw a shy child out of their shell. There are many other benefits of having a pet for a child as well:

  • Pets can give a child a sense of protection, and security that might help them overcome fears as well. For example, a child that's afraid to go to sleep in his own room may adapt more easily if the family cat or dog is allowed to accompany them to bed.

  • Pet ownership can help teach children about interaction, compassion and responsibility. They can help them make friends and start conversations

  • A family pet can boost a child's self-esteem.

Encourage Exercise

Pets can keep you active. Dogs need regular exercise and their owners can reap the rewards of keeping fit and healthy in the process. Having a dog forces you to get up and go outside whether you want to or not.

Taking the dog for a nice leisurely walk is a great way to get moving, enjoy the outdoors, and get some fresh air. If you feel up to it, you can always go for a run with your dog. You'll both get some exercise and have fun.

If health prevents you from walking a dog, consider getting a cat instead. Cats can be very loveable and energetic. Toss a ball across the floor or pull out a ball of yarn, and your cat will keep you both entertained for hours.

With a cat, you may not get as much exercise as you would with a dog, but you'll get plenty of laughs, and laughter is great for your health, too!

Provide Health Benefits

Studies have shown owning a pet provides many health benefits. People with pets tend to have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system and are generally healthier. Pet owners who've suffered a major illness recuperate quicker than those without a pet.

Pets have even been shown to increase a person's immunity to allergies, especially in children. Owning a pet can reduce the risk of allergies, asthma and even heart disease.

Reduce Stress

People with pets also tend to be more positive and have less stress. They're better able to cope with anxiety and deal with stressful situations. The action of petting a dog or cat can relieve stress and lower blood pressure. Pets help people relax and can even improve their attitude.

More Socialable

A pet can help break the ice when meeting new people. Pet owners who are new to their neighbourhood or have difficulty meeting people may find that their pets give them a chance to make new friends.

Animals are naturally curious and may run up to people in an attempt to make their own introductions. Conversations may start between two dog owners and a new friendship begins.

There's a reason pets were put on this earth as companions, and we've only touched on some of them here. If you're considering letting a pet join your household, it's proven that they can do positive things for your health. Get a pet big or small, and enjoy!


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