From dogs to cats to reptiles, pets are loved and adored by U.S. households. If you live in one of the 80 million American homes with pets, you know that best friends don’t always walk on two legs. 98% of people that own animals even consider them as members of the family. So, what makes the bond between humans and their pets so unique? Owning a pet comes with countless psychological and physiological health benefits from constant companionship to better cardiovascular health. Has your pet enhanced your life? Let us know your favorite thing about your pets in the comments below, and keep reading to find out the top ways that pets make life better – fur-real.
1. Stronger Heart Health
Did you know that having pets around, especially dogs, can enhance your heart health? Owning a pooch promotes more opportunities for physical activity since they require plenty of exercise and playtime. So, if your dog is your favorite running partner, frisbee player, or morning stroll mate, then you can thank Fido for boosting your cardiovascular health.
Beyond the extra exercise, Harvard Health mentions that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure for reasons, too. For example, puppy parents react to stressful situations with more ease, so their blood pressure and heart rates rise less and return to normal more quickly during stressful situations. Also, one study shows that patients hospitalized for heart failure showed improvements in heart health after a 12-minute visit with therapy dogs.
2. More Joy
How do you feel after coming home to your favorite furry companions? Joyful? Loved? Excited? Pets and their owners have unbreakable bonds, and statistics show that people who have pets in the house are happier, healthier, and even live longer. Pets provide companionship, support, and they make us feel more joy just by looking at them! Pets love their owners unconditionally, so no matter what is going on, you can find happiness in knowing that your fur babies will always be there for you with wet kisses, hilarious tricks, and a big smile.
3. Less Stress
Feeling ruff? Spending time with your pets is a wonderful way to ease stress. 88% of pet owners believe that their pets reduce stress symptoms, and science agrees. Pets can naturally lower the stress hormone, cortisol, and promote relaxation by bringing down blood pressure and slowing the heart rate. As you hang out with your pets and your cortisol decreases, your oxytocin increases, which is the hormone in your brain responsible for the feelings of love and social connection. From dogs to guinea pigs to rabbits, interacting with any pet is proven to relieve stress and help you feel better, which leads to our next point…
4. Improved Emotional Health
Maintaining a healthy emotional state is necessary for day-to-day functioning, developing meaningful relationships, and living a prosperous life. Mental health plays a critical role in our quality of life, and pets can improve emotional well-being by easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. One study shows that 74% of pet owners experienced improvements in their mental health from pet ownership. Also, 75% of pet owners noticed mental health improvements in their friends and family members when they got pets.
Many hospitals, universities, and other institutions offer animal-assisted therapy programs to provide a nurturing experience during stressful, painful, or emotional periods. Pet therapy is proven to alleviate anxiety, fear, stress, and pain for various types of people, including:
- Those with anxiety
- Children or adults getting dental procedures
- Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
- People with dementia
- People receiving treatment for cancer
- Patients in long-term care facilities
- College students
5. Stronger Social Interactions
Having a secure support system is essential for psychological and physical well-being, but it turns out that human friends are not the only source for social interaction. Pets can also play a critical role in fulfilling social needs. They help their owners feel a sense of belonging and support, and they boost self-esteem. The bond that you develop with your pet can also help foster more meaningful relationships with others. According to Psychology Today, pet owners feel that they receive as much support from their pets as they do from family members.
Also, caring for pets can be a critical developmental skill for children. By forming attachments to animals, kids begin to understand the concepts of empathy, compassion, and friendship. Introducing children to pet ownership can help them develop secure emotional attachments at a young age, which will help them form healthy relationships as they grow.
With Vera Health, you could spend less on health insurance and more on your pets. Learn how we can help you save money on your health insurance with our affordable Short-Term Medical plans. We offer lower monthly premiums than you can expect from many traditional ACA major medical insurance plans, so you can pay for the coverage you want, not the coverage you don’t. Give us a call at 844-961-9645 to chat with one of our Vera Health experts, and start saving on your health insurance today. Woof!