People have been keeping pets for years. However, not all pets are considered “pets.” A companion animal is any animal that provides a benefit or aid to their owner, other than food. In recent times, the increased popularity of these animals has sparked questions as to how they contribute to human health and what qualifies an animal as a companion. The benefits have been listed below.
The benefits of owning a companion animal start with the most known and obvious benefit: companionship. The human-animal bond is an extremely strong one. For those who are single or live alone, owning a pet can be exactly what they need to feel connected to another being. In adulthood, those without a strong social network may also benefit from the companionship and unconditional love of their furred or feathered friend.
Stress Reduction and Lower Blood Pressure
Pet owners have lower blood pressure, and those who own multiple pets have an even lower blood pressure than those with just one pet. Pets also release oxytocin in humans, which is a chemical that reduces stress. For those struggling with stress or anxiety, having a companion animal can be the solution they never knew they needed.
Improved Physical Health
In addition to reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, owning a companion animal is also known to improve physical health in humans. Those who own pets have been shown to engage in routine exercise much more regularly than those without pets. This is because walking the dog or going outside for playtime with the cat is much more frequent than those without a pet might do. They also tend to lead healthier lifestyles as well, focusing on diet and exercise, as opposed to those who lead sedentary lives but desire pets.
Reduces Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Pet owners have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who do not. This is not only because of the previously mentioned factors such as oxytocin and lowered blood pressure, but also because pet ownership can combat loneliness. Many people feel isolated and believe that no one is there for them when in reality, pets are always ready and willing to lend a helping hand or purr in unison. Therefore, keeping an animal can help in improving mental health.
In conclusion, owning a companion animal may be one way to improve your health and well-being. The health benefits of owning a companion animal vary, depending on the pet, but can include reduced stress levels, better immune system function, and possibly, even lower risk of heart disease.