You might declare your love to a furry dog or maybe a fluffy cat, but regardless of which you prefer, we can all agree that these perfect little sweethearts are everybody’s best friend. Whether you have a pet or you are considering buying one, not only will having a companion be beneficial for your health, but you can also give back to the animals by saving a life through adoption.
According to Peta2, 6 million cats and dogs (as well as other animals) are in animal shelters every year. While these animals are in shelters, the majority of pet stores sell animals for profit. At first glimpse, you might ask what is so wrong with pet stores selling these animals?
The problem lies in the fact that before the animals reach the store, they are bred in breeding mills, which are not in the best conditions. While pet stores are completely profit oriented, the focus of animal shelters is to provide animals with proper care, save their lives, and give them a loving home.
Another benefit of adopting an animal from a shelter is the cost is significantly cheaper than buying one from a pet store. The cost of adopting an animal from a shelter can range from $50 to $500, and includes all vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, medicine, microchipping, etc. Buying an animal from a store, however, can cost up to a few thousand dollars without all of the necessities the pet needs.
Now, you’ve heard the benefits of adopting for the animal’s sake, but what’s in it for you? According to those in the health and medical fields, quite a bit! Here are five reasons why having a pet will help your health.
Pets help decreases stress
According to a study conducted at the University of New York at Buffalo, participants who were experiencing a stressful situation felt less stressed when their pets were around them in contrast to when a friend or spouse was nearby. No matter how young or old you are, stress will always affect you in one way or another. Why not have a pet to take away from the stress and give you peace of mind?
Pets helps to ease pain
Linked with decreasing stress, the presence of a pet can reduce pain, especially for individuals who deal with chronic pain ranging from arthritis to migraines. As pets lower anxiety and stress levels, pain levels lower as well.
Pets initiate activity
Owning an animal helps inspire you to be more active, as both dogs and cats love activity and play time. According to the CDC, the increase in activity can help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (especially in men), which helps your heart stay healthy and strong! A healthy heart allows for more time to spend with your furry friend; what else could you want?
Pets improve mood
Pets are known to improve the emotional state of people, but by what degree? Katy Nelson, an emergency vet at the VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital in Virginia states, “veterans who have a pet are able to re-enter society a little bit easier. They’re showing a decreased suicide rate; they have someone they’re responsible for, someone who cares about them.” The presence of an animal can decrease the effects of depression as well as increase levels of happiness and laughter in people; who can say no to that?
Pets increases socialization
Having a pet helps to motivate people to get outside, to go to the park or another public space as a way to get out of the house. According to a 1999 Canadian study, “pet owners were more socially engaged than non pet owners” while an Austrian study concluded that, “owning a pet led to an increase in social contact, more socialization within neighborhoods, and a greater perception to observers that the neighborhood seems ‘friendly.’”
Not only can having an animal help save a life of the animal, but it can also be beneficial for your health and your well-being! The presence of a friendly, furry companion will increase your happiness, decrease your stress, and make your heart not only physically healthy but also fill it with an incredible amount of love.