Anyone who has a pet will tell you how much joy their dog or cat brings to their lives. But did you know scientific research shows a direct correlation between having pets and improved physical and mental health? Let’s review!
Pets Lower Blood Pressure and Relieve Stress
A 1984 study showed a noticeable change in systolic and diastolic blood pressure when a person petted a dog they bonded with. The study also found a parallel between the relaxing effects of quiet reading and petting a dog. A 1988 study also found that petting and talking to dogs was beneficial to blood pressure as well.
According to a 2002 study, cats can also help relieve stress. The participants in the study who had cats or dogs as pets showed significantly lower resting blood pressure levels and heart rates than those who did not. The study also found that people find pets to be part of their support systems, and due to this perception, there are noteworthy cardiovascular benefits.
Pets Decrease Chances of Allergies
People once believed that having pets from a young age caused allergies. This belief has since been debunked. A 2009 study showed that children who had pets starting at three months of age had fewer sensitivities to inhalant allergens such as dust mites, pollen, animal danders, and mold by the age of 8.
Pets Improve Mental Health
If you own a pet, you know how happy your four-legged friend makes you. But a 2018 study proved this to be true as well. Pets can help people suffering from mental health issues manage their symptoms by providing much-needed emotional support.
Another study from 2012 showed that when elderly individuals participated in pet therapy, their feeling of loneliness lowered significantly. Adult patients with schizophrenia who participated in pet therapy also had an improved hedonic tone, which means they were experiencing pleasure and therefore had higher motivation. Pet therapy also helped lower cortisol levels in children. Specifically, kids exposed to a dog in a classroom setting were more likely to be empathetic, show independence, and were less likely to be aggressive.
If you don’t own a pet and are considering it, we hope this article has convinced you to give a furry friend a forever home.