62% of Americans have a pet. Why is that? They’re an extra expense, they take up time and attention and they make messes. So what’s the force that drives the majority of Americans to open up their home to a furry friend? Recent studies show that there are more psychological benefits to owning a pet than previously known. Read on to find out about the different ways our pets positively affect our lives.
- Studies have shown a pet owner’s relationship with their animal is just as strong as with the key people in their lives and doesn’t decrease the importance of human relationships, but strengthens them.
- An experiment with dog owners showed their social needs were better fulfilled with their dogs, increasing their feelings of belonging and their self-esteem.
- Pets are also seen to help eliminate feelings or depression or rejection because they’re full-time companions and offer unconditional love.
- Elderly people with pets are more physically fit than those who don’t own pets.
- Medicare patients with pets tend to have less doctors’ visits than those without pets.
- In a study of 240 married couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates.
- There are fewer strokes and heart attacks among cat owners.
- Having a pet offers you a routine, which is therapeutically helpful when you feel stressed out or like things are out of your control.
- Positive physical contact with pets is proven to cause people to relax.
- Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress-related hormone cortisol.
- Children who grow up with pets have less allergies and stronger immune systems. Read more about that study, here.
- Kids with pets learn about responsibility and roles.
- Having pets teaches young people how their actions affect others, a principal which is then applied to humans as well.
If you’ve been pondering the idea of adding a pet to your home, these are some great things to consider. Though pets can be a financial burden or take up time, they offer a lot of unseen psychological and physically benefits for your family.