The health benefits of having a pet

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Having a dog or cat or any pet to take care of might sound like hard work, but in actual fact there are a multitude of benefits that come with owning a pet – both mental and physical. For anyone who has never owned a pet, it can be hard to comprehend just how good pets can be for your health and wellbeing and for anyone who has owned a pet, they’ll know how valuable the furry companions can be.

You’ll find you have a fitter lifestyle. Especially if your pet is a dog who is energetic. Dogs need regular walks and are a great way of getting you up and out even when the weather is bad and you don’t feel up to it. This regular exercise brings you and your pet together whilst also helping you release endorphins and get physically fit too.

A pet brings people together. While not a direct health benefit, having a happy content family can help reduce stress which in turn leads to a positive effect on your health. Having a pet can encourage families to spend time together and do things together that don’t involved just watching TV.

They have a calming effect which can help lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown that petting your cat or dog can help calm your nerves and relieve stress which is good for your heart and health long term.

When a child has no brothers or sisters, research has shown that pets help children develop greater empathy, higher self-esteem, and increased participation in social and physical activities by building social relations with their pet as if they were their own sibling.

Pets can also provide companionship to elderly people who may live on their own and need company. For those who are unable to bring dogs for a walk, a cat can be a great alternative. Or if the elderly person does not have the energy or resources for a live-in pet,  studies have shown that interaction with visiting dogs has led to more social behaviours, less anxiety and less feelings of loneliness.