If you own a pet you probably know most of this. But if you don’t, or you’re considering getting one, it’s the best investment you can make in your physical and emotional well-being!
Why open your home to a furry creature that needs constant attention and care? Why risky catching some weird disease? Clean up disgusting messes?
Well, these are just the few “negatives.” The plus points are many, many more and inviting a four-legged friend into your home can transform you. Read on…
- Keeps you on your toes: If you’re piling on the pounds and frequently shopping for larger sizes, owning a dog can keep you fit and active. Two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week is what’s recommended by doctors and most pet-parents of dogs get much more than that! Owning a dog also keeps you mobile well into your 60s and 70s when all your friends are selecting wheelchairs.
- Boosts your social life: Dog-lovers and pet-parents are a class apart! They are friendly, outgoing and much more extroverted, either because they tend to meet more people like themselves when they step out with the pet or because they find it easier to make conversation when there are common factors.
- Stress-Buster: There’s nothing like a dog greeting you exuberantly when you come home after a tough day at work. Unconditional love is something that pets shower on you whether you deserve it or not! Pets also seem to ease tension between couples and in families. A few moments spent with your pet increase release of serotonin and dopamine which enable calmness and well-being.
- Helps combat loneliness/depression/heart-disease/stroke: Pets are great companions for single and/or older people. They help to structure the day, provide goals, force you to follow a routine. This prevents you from feeling depressed or isolated and many people have reported that a pet gives you a “reason to get up in the morning.” They help older and lonely people to find meaning and structure in their lives. Pets have been known to reduce the sensation of pain, especially in chronic conditions like arthritis, migraine or fibromyalgia.
- Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes: If you and your dog are both fond of good food, taking him/her out for a walk regularly helps maintain the balance. There are lots of fun activities you can do along with a pet. Often, pets help you understand what your body needs in terms of food, exercise and hydration. Pets also encourage you to keep yourself well groomed and in good health. If you’re recovering from an illness, pets help physically and emotionally in rehabilitation.
- Kids Benefit Too: If you have babies, toddlers and young children, owning a pet can be extremely beneficial. They learn responsibility, loyalty compassion, to care for another living thing, the importance of companionship and discipline, provide a sense of security and joy. Kids who grow up with pets in the house have more immunity, less allergies and asthma. They also have better self-images and self-esteem.
- Special Needs People: People with disabilities and special needs benefit hugely from having a pet in the house. Therapy animals have proved extremely beneficial to people with mental and physical disabilities. Children with autism learn to interact more, and find it easier to deal with a pet that relies on non-verbal cues just like himself/herself. Pets also help to calm down children with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, aggression, attention deficit and hyperactivity.
- Helps you Live in the Present: A dog or cat’s life is very much about the here and now. Owning a pet helps you be more observant, mindful and to be more present in your life.
- The Importance of Commitment: Owning a pet is a full-time job, with few options for holidays or breaks. You need commitment, compassion and patience, all of which can be learned. You also learn to plan for someone other than yourself. Whether it’s filling up on pet-food, planning your entertainment schedule, inviting friends over or going out, having a pet helps you to consider the needs of another being.
While many of these benefits are known to pet-parents and those who know them, there are many, many other surprising benefits of owning a pet. For instance, dogs can be trained to detect cancer, low blood sugar, reduce your risk of developing conditions like eczema and can even help during seizures.
Find a pet that suits your lifestyle, age, preferences and needs. You’ll never regret it!
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