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  • Writer's pictureKaaya Sharma

The health benefits of owning a pet

Anthrozoology is a field of study dealing with the interaction between humans and other animals. All humans need some degree of companionship, which is why a large number of people choose to own pets. In return, pets receive the physical and emotional care they need. Both parties benefit tremendously from this relationship! Growing research in this field has consistently shown that owning a pet can have numerous health benefits. Pets help reduce stress and lower the risk of heart attacks. They alleviate depression and boost our immunity. They can even help their owner form new friendships by increasing their outdoor activities.


1. Reduces stress

For many, owning a dog or cat can reduce stress, anxiety, and ease loneliness in the household. Numerous studies have found that having a pet directly links to lowering cortisol levels, a hormone that is directly related to how stressed one feels. On top of this, pets tend to produce feelings of support and love, which is the best mood booster in the chaotic and busy times of life.


2. Lower risk of heart attacks

In addition to lowering your cortisol levels, having a pet has also been linked to lowering blood pressure levels. Lower blood pressure significantly lowers an owner's chance of having a heart attack as well as other dangerous diseases. Studies show that having a dog makes owners 31% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke, especially for people who are at risk for chronic illnesses.


3. Alleviates depression

Having a pet generally makes owners a lot happier. Having a dog or cat can be very calming and soothing - even the simple sound of a cat purring can make you relaxed. Pets also make you feel less lonely. Having a pet allows owners to have a nonjudgmental and unproblematic friend whom they can always depend on.


Also, owning a pet produces a sense of responsibility, which has shown to be extremely beneficial for one's mental health. The reassurance that owners can care for another entity besides themselves creates feel-good feelings and gives a sense of purpose. All of these things combined alleviate depression and make pet owners feel a lot happier and safer.


4. Improves the immune system

Growing up with a pet can make a child's immune system less prone to allergies and asthma. Researchers have found that children who are exposed to a dog, cat, or farm animal during the first year of their life are 48% less likely to get allergy-based symptoms from that animal compared to those who were not around these animals as a child.


5. Increases outdoor activities

Having a pet, a dog in particular, will force owners to make frequent outdoor trips. This encourages owners to go outside, meet new people, and get some exercise as well! Even a small walk a day can prove to be very good for your health. It also provides the necessary sunlight in your system so you feel more energized and strong.

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