You may think that having a pet is a novel experience, or if you consider yourself an animal lover, having a pet can bring a sense of purpose and even greater joy into your life. But the health benefits of pet ownership are actually grounded in science.
Studies have shown that owning a pet can help reduce stress. And owning pets also comes with an array of other great benefits that you might not be aware of. In fact, in many ways, owning a pet can actually make your life better.
Adopting a pet might seem like a selfless act in its own right. But believe it or not, many people adopt pets for a range of reasons that benefit them directly. So, if you’re interested in learning about the power of pet ownership, the following will explore a few of the benefits.
Stress Reduction in Old Age
Some experts believe that owning a pet in your latter years can actually help to keep you young. And this has a lot to do with the power of pet ownership in reducing stress levels.
Research has shown that by simply petting a dog or a cat reduces the stress hormone known as cortisol. At the same time, petting a dog or a cat actually has been shown to increase production in the hormone oxytocin, which is the same hormone that allows for mothers to bond with newborn children.
If you have an aging loved one, stress might be a huge factor in their life. And having a pet can actually help to reduce the amount of stress they might feel on a daily basis.
Additionally, stress also lowers our immune system response. So keeping a pet can actually help to boost the immune system as well.
Easing Loneliness and Depression
If you’re wanting to adopt a pet, you could be doing yourself a big favor as this is also known to help ease cases of depression brought about by prolonged bouts of isolation and loneliness. In fact, many Americans went out to buy a puppy, with smaller breed puppies being the most popular, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic just because many people found themselves lonely amid the shutdowns.
For example, studies performed in 2021 during the pandemic showed that pet owners had better self-esteem and suffered less bouts of depression than that of non-pet owners.
Having a companion to help pass the time and keep you company, especially if you live alone or work from home, can work wonders for your mental health. And in addition, you also get beneficial exercise from walking and playing with your pet or taking them places with you.
Owning a Pet Gives You a Sense of Purpose
Perhaps you live alone, you’re retired, or you’ve never had children. If any of these are the case, you may have a deflated sense of purpose. But thankfully, having a pet can bring that sense of purpose back into your life.
We humans often gravitate toward those who rely on us. And it’s an innate, nurturing characteristic in most people to care for those who require dependence. As such, pets rely only on those who love and care for them and this makes them the perfect means by which to redevelop a sense of purpose in life.
When you have someone who relies on you, you tend to be much more responsible and your sense of empathy will correspondingly grow accordingly. And though having a pet usually requires minimal effort when compared to raising a child, you can still develop a healthy relationship with your pet, and both of you might even learn to rely on one another as well.
Pet ownership isn’t just about going to the dog park or making sure you take them in for check-ups at the vet. Owning a pet requires quite a significant commitment for a large part of your life. But the benefits you’ll gain are rewarding in themselves.
photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/t8SxccV0Agw
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