Many, if not all, pet owners are vocal about the joys that come with their furry companions. Bonds between pets and their owners are powerful and positive. Whether you are a teenager, a struggling millennial, or a senior looking for companionship, pet-loving knows no age.
You know you love your pet when you give them much more than what they usually need. Some hire puppy trainers to keep their pets domesticated, while others allow a room for play. Caring for a pet is like caring for a family member, too.
While we already know that pets allow us to be more compassionate and loving, not all are aware of the health benefits of having a pet. It can be classified as a self-care regimen. Many research shows that having pets can help ease feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. They can also encourage physical exercise. Here’s how your loving pet can be a source of strength and wellness.
Therapeutic effects of owning a pet
Studies show that pet owners, compared to those without pets, are less likely to experience mental health problems, which can include depression, stress, and anxiety. They also contribute to maintaining our cardiovascular health, as they help lower our blood pressure, especially in stressful situations. Playing with pets can also change your condition. They elevate dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones stabilize your mood, especially during a demanding workday.
Owning a pet does not exclusively mean having a dog or a cat. Having a fish in an aquarium or a little hamster can offer its owners the same health benefits. While cuddles can bring extra joy to a pet owner, just watching a pet can lower pulse rate and ease muscle tension.
These therapeutic effects can be attributed to the need of humans for touch. Interacting with pets can help people experience affection. Touch can help soothe and calm someone who is anxious or in a bad mood. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the affection they offer helps ease our loneliness and longing for other people.
How pets can encourage lifestyle changes
Old habits die hard. Yet, pets can turn your life around for the better. Aside from experiencing therapeutic effects, pets can also help their owners adapt to healthy lifestyle changes.
- Owning a pet can encourage exercise. Taking your dog for a walk can be a great idea. Though this activity may seem mundane, it can help you and your pet get fit. Not only does walking together form a stronger bond between you and your furry friend, but it also keeps you healthy as you get to meet your daily exercise requirement.
- Caring for a pet can help you meet new people. Pets can be a great way for you to form and maintain friendships. Pet owners can meet new friends in clubs, training classes, and even pet stores. Posting about your pet on social media can gain you new friends, too.
- Pets can help add routine and structure to your day. Most pets require a regular feeding schedule. This routine keeps them calm and balance, and it can reflect on you, too. No matter what your mood is for the day, you will surely get up to feed your pet.
- They can help boost your self-esteem. Pets make us feel like we are needed. Even simple tasks like feeding and caring for a pet give us a sense of responsibility. This can boost our self-esteem and self-image.
Other household pets
Many of us would like to own pets. However, you could be allergic to animal fur. Other household pets are not as common as cats or dogs that you can look into as you find the right companion.
Reptiles like lizards and frogs can be attached to their owners too. While they seem cold-blooded, a reptile companion can appeal to people with fur allergies. They are also attractive and amusing to observe and care for.
Rabbits can also be an alternative pet. They are not as high maintenance as cats and dogs, but they have a unique personality. They are used to living in small spaces. If ever you live in a room or a studio, they could be a great option.
Fish and other aquatic creatures can also be quiet but loving companions. Many medical facilities have aquariums because they can help reduce stress while keeping you calm and relaxed. They are exciting to watch and are great for people who enjoy comfortable silence.
Having a pet is a commitment. We care for them, and they are a part of our lives. In return, they offer great self-care benefits that we may not have been aware of at first.