Amazing Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Barking BuddiesHaving a dog in your home is not just having a loyal companion who would welcome you at home after a hectic day. There are so many more benefits of having a dog (or any pet) and they are benefits to your health and well-being. Pets offer you unconditional love, reduce stress, enhance heart health and even help kids with their emotional and social skills. Scientists have long been studying the potential physical and mental health benefits of owning pets on humans. Let’s look at their findings.

Potential Health Effects

Studies on animal-human interactions are relatively new. Although results have been mixed, some findings are of positive health effects. To learn various aspects of owning a dog, read a dog blog like Barking Buddies.

Interacting with animals has been found to reduce levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies show that animals can decrease feelings of loneliness, increase the feeling of social support and boost your mood.

Researchers are looking into how animals might affect children development. They are studying animal interactions with children who have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism and other conditions.

Not any one answer is available about how a pet can help someone with a particular condition. Do you aim at increasing physical activity? Then you might benefit from having a dog as you have to walk a dog several times a day and thus will increase your physical activity. If you aim at reducing stress, watching fish swim can cause a feeling calmness. Thus, there is no one type fits all.

Comfort and Support

Animals can even provide comfort and support to people. Therapy dogs, e.g., reduce patients’ stress and anxiety and therefore are brought to hospitals and nursing homes.

Dogs are very sharp at this. If someone is struggling with something, dogs know how to sit there and be loving and caring. They focus their attention all the time on the person. Cancer patients are taught mindfulness to help reduce stress and manage pain. The foundations of mindfulness include attention, intention, compassion and awareness. And all these things are the ones that animals readily have. Humans have to learn them, but animals do them innately.

Dogs may also help in the classroom. One study shows that dogs can help kids with ADHD focus their attention. In another study it was observed that children with autism spectrum disorder became calmer while playing with guinea pigs in the classroom. Their anxiety levels dropped when they spent 10 minutes in a supervised group playtime with guinea pigs. They also had better social interactions and were more engaged with their peers.

Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Developing a Sense of Help

Pets also bring new responsibilities. Learning how to care for and feed an animal is a part of owning a pet.

You have to remember that even animals can feel stressed and fatigued and it’s essential for children to be able to identify signs of stress in their pet and know when not to approach. Animal bites can lead to serious harm.

Dog bite prevention is definitely an issue parents should consider, particularly for young kids who don’t always know the limits of what’s correct to do with a dog.

Studies are going on what works and what doesn’t work regarding animal-human relationship, and new findings about health benefits of owning pets are encouraging.