Psychologists, veterinarians, and researches can all agree on one thing: there are endless benefits of owning a pet.
The top 5 reasons every person or family should own a pet:
1. Most importantly, pets provide us with friendship, love, and affection. Having an always loyal companion is great way to beat off mild depression or stress. Often when people feel lonely and isolated, they become hopeless and are unable to function. But when someone owns a pet, it gives people a sense of encouragement and importance. Pets are also a nice break from complicated human relationships. An owner does not have to worry about messy break-ups, petty gossip, or other stressful issues when they interact with their pet. The pet just gives us unconditional love. Playing with or stroking a pet, like any other enjoyable activity, releases serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in the brain which are linked to feeling pleasure.
2. Pets help lower blood pressure by reducing stress in a persons life. Simple and relaxing activities, such as petting an animal, have been shown to relieve tension, causing the blood pressure to lower. In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, pet owners have been shown to have lower cholesterol levels. In particular, male pet owners are likely to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-pet owners. Scientists are unsure why exactly this phenomenon happens.
3. Pets enrich the lives of many children. One advantage to pet ownership is a valuable lesson in responsibility. When a child must care for a pet (such as walking and feeding a dog) they learn to put others needs ahead of theirs and become less selfish. Also, a child will be able to understand that they must be held accountable for their actions. If they forget to feed their fish, causing the fish to die, then the child will learn the consequences of irresponsibility. In general, children who have grown up with animal companions are more empathetic and sociable.
4. A study by Cambridge University found that pet owners have better general health. After tracking pet owners over a 10 month time period, the study found that pet owners suffer from fewer common ailments, such as colds and headaches. Also, a study by Social Indicators Research linked dog ownership with overall health and well-being. Out of 3,000 Chinese women studied, the results show that the 1,500 women who own a dog exercised more often, slept better, and reported better fitness levels than the 1,500 women who do not own a dog. In addition, individuals who own pets are reported to visit the doctor less than those who do not.
5. Suprisingly, animals help children build up their immune systems. The trace amounts of dirt found on the animals causes the child to create strong antibodies against the dirt and bacteria. Children raised with animals are able to develop an immunity against the animal dander that many Americans are allergic to. Direct exposure to animals drastically decreases the risk of allergies, eczema, and asthma in young children.