What Health Benefits Can Owning A Pet Have?
There are many reasons why you should consider owning a pet: for the companionship and love, to provide a great home for a deserving creature, for the joy an animal can bring to you and your family. But you may not realise that there are also many health benefits to owning a pet. Animals can help you to feel better in a whole host of ways, from getting you active or raising your mental wellbeing to actively supporting you in managing a health condition.
Keep in shape
If you are guilty of taking the car when you could walk or spending too much time on the sofa, you could be damaging your health. Inactivity over time can lead to heart problems, weight gain and joint problems. Keeping active through walking is a low impact way to look after yourself – and it can be lots of fun, too. If you have a pet who relies on you for exercise, you will certainly spend more time on your feet. You’ll be doing your physical health a favour while spending valuable bonding time with your pet.
Boost your mental health
Animals have been proven to have a positive impact on a wide range of mental health conditions. Taking on an animal who relies on you may seem daunting when you are unwell, but in fact pet owners tend to report that having a dependant gives them the strength to get better. Animals have a unique way of cheering people up, and they can provide comfort and support at difficult times. Pets are often recommended for children with learning disabilities or with autistic disorders, as a pet can help them connect and can unlock their feelings and thoughts.
Condition management and support
Animals are extremely perceptive, and they have a remarkable ability to learn. Many pets, especially dogs, are fiercely loyal. They also have heightened perception for things that humans do not. As a result, pets can be trained to provide assistance and support for people with health conditions. This includes identifying when seizures may occur or when low blood sugar is imminent. By raising the alert, help can be sought long before the condition worsens.
Dogs are also useful in an assistance context: they can act as the eyes of a blind person, the ears of a deaf person, or the hands and feet of a person with limited mobility. While dogs are the pet most commonly used as a service animal, but cats, birds, monkeys and even miniature horses have all been registered as service animals.