More than half of the people in the US own at least one pet. Given the opportunity, most pet owners will talk a lot about their animals. Besides the pleasures and fun these pets provide, research has shown that living with pets, whether it be a cat, dog, or some other animal provides certain health benefits – both mental and physical.
There are about 164 million owned pets in the US and about 62% of the population owns them.
Most Americans – 3 in 5 – own at least 1 pet.
Dogs have the edge over cats. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the US have a dog, while 30-37% have a cat. In numbers, that’s 43,346,000 households owning a dog, 36,117,000 owning a cat, 3,671,000 own a bird, and 1,780,000 own a horse.
More than half of pet owners admit to letting their pet sleep in the bed with them.
One third of pet owners buy gifts for their animal for holidays and birthdays.
Some of the Benefits
Pets give you joy and purpose to your life and are natural mood enhancers. If you’ve ever had a pet, you know it’s a great feeling when your pet gives you love and attention. And it’s not just dogs that are happy to see you and welcome you after returning home after being out. I once had a cat that knew the sound of my car and would jump on the windowsill and cry until I walked through the door.
Pets will reduce stress and anxiety. Playing with your pet helps lower the level of cortisol, the stress hormone and increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine which help you relax. Just the act of snuggling up to your animal whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit (or any animal) gives you a feeling of calmness. Even having fish is a good thing. We have a 55 gallon aquarium and many of our guests say they find it relaxing to watch the fish.
Reduced Allergy and Asthma
Instead of causing allergies as you would first believe, owning a pet actually decreases the chances of allergy and asthma, especially in children. Experts feel that exposure to animals, especially at an early age helps the immune system to become desensitized to the allergens. Studies have found that children who grow up with pets develop stronger immune systems.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Studies show people who have pets more often have less hypertensive problems than those without pets. Perhaps it is due to the calming influence of the animals.
Lower Cholesterol/Heart Disease
Researchers don’t know why, but studies have shown pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets. Lower cholesterol and triglycerides equals less heart disease.
Reduction in Chronic Pain
People with chronic pain such as rheumatoid arthritis tend do use less medication if they are pet owners. Pets have a way of making you forget your troubles and make you feel good!
According to research, owning a pet has been thought to lower your risk of a heart attack, and pet owners have been found to have a better survival rate one year after a heart attack and less of a chance of dying from heart disease.
Pet ownership can help with depression and actually pet owners are less likely to suffer from it. Not only do pets provide companionship, a sense of purpose, acceptance, and unconditional love, they make you feel needed and fulfilled. They satisfy the basic human need to touch and give you something to look forward to. And you can talk to your pet for as long as you want – and they’ll listen!
Dogs may be the best pet to exercise with, but cats need to exercise too. You can chase after a kitten or small animal, and riding a horse is good exercise. People who own pets are just often in better physical health than non-owners.
Having a pet combats loneliness, reduces isolation and promotes exercise.
Almost all children want to have a pet. Not only do they teach children responsibility and boost self-esteem, but more importantly they demonstrate the circle of life.
Having a pet can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. So get sick less and live a happier and healthier life with the company of a pet!
Do you have a pet? What positive effects does your pet have on your life?