3 Benefits of Having a Pet
Updated: Sep 17, 2021
In this post I will share 3 science based benefits of having a pet. Also, you will meet my pets in celebration of National Pet Day. As of 2018, it is estimated that 68% of U.S. households have a pet ("The Power" 2018).
It's National Pet day! My dogs bring so much joy to my life. I have had pets in my life since I was 3 years old and can't imagine a life where I go without. I may be bias, in saying my dogs are the best, but I've never needed research to tell me they make my life better.
This is Isabell, my 10.5 year old Great Dane. She loves sunbathing and taking over the whole couch at the most opportune moments.
This is Molly, my Pomeranian. She will be 10 in September. She loves playing with her toy dragon (which is bigger than her) and cuddles.
Lucky for us, tons of research exists supporting the benefits of having a pet in our life.
Physical Health Benefits
Pets increase the owners opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Going on regular walks or playing with pets can:
Decrease blood pressure
Decrease cholesterol levels
Decrease triglyceride levels
Mental Health Benefits
Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include:
Decreased feelings of loneliness
Boosts our mood ("The Power" 2018)
Increased opportunities for socialization
Seniors having a pet to care for and love, promotes self-confidence and self-esteem (Miller, 2020)
Emotional Health Benefits
Some pets can tell if their owner is feeling emotional and will comfort them. By giving us companionship, pets can help manage loneliness and depression. Pets can help with:
bring comfort to the owner
Animals in Therapy
Did you know pet and animals can be used therapeutically? There is Equine Therapy, Therapy dogs, and other ways humans can benefit therapeutically form animals. ("The Power" 2018) Sadly, neither of my dogs are Therapy dogs despite their best intentions.
Before getting a pet, make sure it is the right choice and that you are able to care for it for the duration of their life. Depending on our different personal goal this can change what animal is best for us. For example Watching fish swim can be calming, or getting a dog can help us get more physical activity in daily ("The Power" 2018). Pets can be a lot of work, and won't necessarily bring you the benefits listed above, but their benefits can outweigh their fluff.
If you are interested in therapy, I am located in the KC metro for in person session or telehealth services.
"About Pets & People" CDC, 2019, www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits.
Miller, L. "The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Having a Pet." Psychology Today, 26 Oct. 2020, psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mind-body-connection/202010/the-psychological-and-physical-benefits-having-pet.
"The Power of Pets." Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions, Wein, H., NHI News in Health, Monthly newsletter, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services , NHI News in Health, Feb. 2018, https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets.